Leading Physician Convinced Babies Feel Pain at 20 Weeks of Pregnancy

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 12, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Leading Physician Convinced Babies Feel Pain at 20 Weeks of Pregnancy Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
February 12,

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — A leading physician who has investigated the pain premature infants feel says he’s convinced that unborn children have the capacity to feel pain as early as 20 weeks into pregnancy. Dr. Kanwaljeet Anand, a University of Arkansas professor, is the foremost authority on the subject.

He recently spoke with the New York Times about his research.

Anand says it started at John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, England when he was a resident at a neonatal intensive care unit.

He noticed babies would come back from surgeries in terrible condition and realized it was because they were suffering through the operations without anesthesia.

Clinical trials eventually showed that babies suffered massive stress without it and babies who received anesthesia beforehand were 15 percent more likely to survive such early operations. Today, the standard of care that Anand discovered is routine.

As technology advanced, so did the ability to determine when babies began to have the capacity to feel pain.

“So I said to myself, Could it be that this pain system is developed and functional before the baby is born?” he told the New York Times.

He eventually determined that pain begins at least halfway through pregnancy at 20 weeks — a time when abortions are still done in the United States and many other nations where it’s legal.

Tony Perkins, the head of the Family Research Council, said he appreciated the New York Times’ willingness to profile Anand and fetal pain.

He told LifeNews.com the pain babies feel during an abortion is a "meaningful argument for persuading women to reconsider their abortions."

"The mere fact that the Times acknowledged that fetal pain occurs is a significant step forward," he said and added that the report treated the topic "with the impartiality and dignity it warrants."

"Americans deserve to know the truth about the humanity of the unborn child," he concluded.