Patterico's Pontifications

8/26/2005

We Forgot to Mention . . .

Filed under: Abortion,Dog Trainer,Media Bias — Patterico @ 10:00 pm



You remember that study that said fetuses don’t feel pain until 29 weeks? Turns out that some of the folks who conducted the study have connections to abortion and the abortion lobby.

Didn’t you kind of suspect that already?

The L.A. Times reports: Report on Fetal Pain Sparks Debate on Disclosing Authors’ Affiliations:

A controversial research article about when fetuses feel pain is sparking a heated debate about the nexus between science and politics and what information authors should disclose to scientific journals.

The report, published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Medical Assn., analyzed previously published research and concluded that fetuses probably don’t feel pain until 29 weeks after conception because of their developing brain structures.

Undisclosed was the fact that one of the five authors runs an abortion clinic at San Francisco’s public hospital while another author worked temporarily more than five years ago for an abortion rights advocacy group.

Whoops!

I find this interesting:

Several ethicists said they considered those points regrettable omissions that left readers without important information. Other experts consider the authors’ backgrounds irrelevant.

Who do you think we actually hear from in the article? The several who think the omissions were regrettable? Or the ones who think it’s irrelevant that folks conducting a study like this are in the pocket of the abortion lobby?

If you guessed that the first quote comes from someone who is undisturbed by all of this, you’re right. In fact, we never hear the actual words of any of the “several” ethicists who had a problem with hiding this information. When the article gets around to printing a quote that condemns the omission, it comes from the abortion lobby.

I believe that the late David Shaw (who ran an entire series on media bias on abortion) would have seen this for what it is: blatant liberal bias.

40 Responses to “We Forgot to Mention . . .”

  1. Yupp, thought so.

    The analysis made absolutely no sense and was totally inconsistent with expert studies by qualified medical professionals.

    Paul Deignan (ff8a33)

  2. I should add that there is no question that premature babies feel pain-we know of none nomatter how early delivered that don’t. So of course they must feel pain earlier.

    The people who don’t feel pain (or empathy) are those that pretend that a child they can’t see is not a child.

    It is time that an ethics investigation be launched concerning these “authors”.

    Paul Deignan (ff8a33)

  3. I’ll add this also. Not only do they feel pain (a very rudamentary nervous response), but they also have very developed tactile response and reasoning. For example, they can search out nipples and feed.

    They also exhibit emotions such as crying at discomfort and indications of anxiety (response to the mother’s heart beat).

    A premature baby has a brain that is massively more complex than that animals we have no question about having complex characters such as our pets. Yet, these “researchers” set that all aside in a leap from a bastardized “analysis” of data to the inference of mental ability. This really is astonishing that a medical journal would have published this garbage.

    Paul Deignan (ff8a33)

  4. I find it amazing the emphasis is on “feeling pain” than on some etheral issue, like whether the embryo has “aggregates of consciousness” or “soul”. Personally I think the latter is more important for it means deprivation of “aggregates of consciousness” or “soul”.

    I witnessed a friend’s bereavement, of her aged mother, and her wish that her mother not suffer pain in dying. It being a cancer case, there was some pain in the recent going. I tried to reason with her, that, we used to meditate on “pain” and felt such “great pain” and stopped only we could no longer study the pain in meditation. She did not buy it.

    While it is “compassionate” to let a man be sentenced to death in a painless way, if it is capital punishment, and it is compassionate not to let fetus feel pain when aborted, but the crux is less the pain than the issue, whether, it is deprived of potential life.

    Yi Ling (058d05)

  5. I would like to know what methods were used to test whether fetuses were feeling pain. What did the mothers to be think about participating in a study that supposedly inflicted a level of pain on their baby to be?

    Davod (5fdaa2)

  6. Hmmm… its never occurred to me that they inflicted pain and then deduced that there was no pain felt by fetuses. I just assumed it was just a theoretical analysis based on what has been formed as at week 20-22, which is the date, that fetus can survive outside the womb, and thus, they should not be aborted. I had always assumed this theoretical basis, based on what is now easily seen of what development is taking place in the fetus from week 1 to week 20-22.

    It would be interesting if someone told me that, the deduction is based on experiments that were actually conducted and then there was an inference therefore that the fetus could not have felt pain.

    Yi Ling (2dbcea)

  7. For those interested in fetal pain, here is a link fetal pain” that present factual information minus any shifty analysis.

    Paul Deignan (ff8a33)

  8. Now, its fair to analyze how this “study” interprets its evidence. From the study:

    Pain perception requires conscious recognition or awareness of a noxious stimulus. Neither withdrawal reflexes nor hormonal stress responses to invasive procedures prove the existence of fetal pain, because they can be elicited by nonpainful stimuli and occur without conscious cortical processing. Fetal awareness of noxious stimuli requires functional thalamocortical connections.

    What they are saying is that unless the fetus can prove that it experiences pain in an unambiguous manner, we should presume that the child does not experience pain. They also use a definition of pain that is unique to what a clinician might use for a fully developed human and claim on that basis that fetus’s feel no pain. It is like saying that a green apple is not fruit since a red apple is fruit and green is not red.

    So, they first start by saying, “You must prove XYZ to us as a mathematician would even though we know that a fetus cannot speak or it is false”. Then they say, “We will use a definition of pain that applies only to fully developed human brains that we know of even though we know nothing of brains that lack this development.” Finally they say, “You should make policy on what we tell you and BTW, we aren’t concerned that we are biased–no way, we’re not biased.”

    If they consistently applied thier standard of proof, they would have to say, “It is likely that young fetus feel pain, but we cannot prove it beyond a shadow of all doubt”. Instead, (and this is where they are guilty of at least one of their ethical violations, “It is unlikely that fetuses under X date feel pain.” The evidence for likelihood is actually against this conclusion by their own evidence.

    My own comment. I have read a number of “analytical” reports by some “professionals” including Pape of UC (wo misrepresented his data) and a statician from Cornell (who did not even bother to get the raw data he was “analyzing”) and I have to say, these charletans need to be censured. When one goes out to effect policy decisions, they should never misrepresent either their data, the basis for their conslusions, or the limits of their evidence. It is fine that we discuss different theories on how the data may be interpreted and is wholly another to misrepresent data to the layperson and especially to policy makers. When that is done, there needs to be a reckoning for the good of the scientific profession.

    Paul Deignan (ff8a33)

  9. Paul Deignan

    I browsed through your link, though not with a fine tooth comb, but did not see any specific experiment to inflict pain and then deduce fetus felt no pain. If I missed, please point out.

    I did notice that light outside mom’s body can show up movement of fetus, to deduce response to light

    I thought, and still think, the argument seems narrowed to theory of whether without cerebral cortex , fetus can feel pain. Now it seems it is, whether with thalmus, fetus can feel pain. Since thalmus is there by week 8, and can be seen through ultra sound, the deduction then is, does presence of thalmus per se without cerebral cortex yet, allow fetus to feel pain?

    If I missed the analysis and deduction of pain, please enlighten me :-)

    Yi Ling (20f673)

  10. The advocates of abortion, use NO fetal pain to additionally justify abortion. The advocates of pro life, are not that concerned with NO fetal pain as the greater loss is the loss of life and not just the experience of pain or discomfort. The only reason pro life advocates relook at no fetal pain, is that, IF there is indeed fetal pain, because the study is not reproducible , not accurate, or the persons conducting the study or analysis would have a bias to lean to abortion and thus justify it additionally with no fetal pain, THEN, it would undermine the argument of the abortion advocates on THEIR OWN TURF AND FRAME OF REFERENCE.

    More of the analysis than experiments on pain

    The group determined that pain can only be felt by a fetus after nerve connections became established between two parts of its brain: the cortex and the thalamus. This happens about 26 weeks from conception. Professor Maria Fitzgerald of University College London, author of the working group’s report, says that “little sensory input” reaches the brain of the developing fetus before 26 weeks. “Therefore reactions to noxious stimuli cannot be interpreted as feeling or perceiving pain.” 10

    “Since no direct objective method of assessing fetal pain exists, the crucial question with regard to fetal sentience is: At what stage of human prenatal development are those anatomical structures subserving the appreciation of pain present and functional?

    He has concluded that the “spino-thalamic” system is fully developed at about 12 to 14 weeks of gestation. This is the system that conveys pain signals from pain receptors throughout the body to the thalamus. He apparently believes that the thalamus can feel pain, even though a connection between it and the cortex is missing. http://www.religioustolerance.org/abo_pain.htm

    Yi Ling (20f673)

  11. So it seems to boil down to

    1. must have cerebral cortex for fetal pain
    2. must have thalmus for fetal pain
    3. must have connection between thalmus and cerebral cortex for fetal pain.

    Paul’s link seems to go on (3) there must be connection between thalmus and cerebral cortex. Is that so , Paul? :-)

    Yi Ling (20f673)

  12. Yi Ling,

    What they did was a literature survey.

    You are supposing that certain functional parts of a fully developed brain are compartmentalized. However, expecially for forming brains, there is no know functionality of that sort. It is a neural network that specializes as it develops. So it is possible that pain is felt differently in the devloping brain by different mechanisms than the fully developed brian.

    Perhaps the best way of measurement is to examine voluntary nervous responses (which was explicitly discounted). This slight of hand passed off as absolute fact (which they have no proof of themselves) was what makes them charletans in my opinion.

    They also have not defined “pain” scientifically. In part, “pain” is a philosophical concept. The scientific method would be to find either a causal determiniative (and exclusively proven) mechanism that is true for all cases (which no one really knows) or to describe pain clinically as a response to stimuli such that it covers all living organisms within the realm of application of the definition. They explicitly fail here in a manner that is designed to bias the conclusion (which they do not then qualify).

    The link I provided was just one of many from a google search. I read it and it seemed factual as oppoosed to the quasi-scienctific nonsense of the “study”. It is there for comparison. I would encourage all that think of themselves as “enlightened” to make their own search. As I mentioned, there is much that is not known.

    The scientific method is to admit what we do not know. That, with democratic values, leads deductively to a pro-life philosophy. Ignorance and want, I have seen (please chek the discussion in my blog on the subject) are characteristic of the abortion crowd. Of course, if any abortionist thinks not, they are invited to argue their case at my blog at the “Thinking Critically about Abortion” post.

    Paul Deignan (ff8a33)

  13. Also, I should add that as the link shows, the literature survey that they did was incomplete or intentionally misleading.

    At the link there is a reference to a study that does make the point that the thalmus is sufficient to process pain spikes. This contradicts the assumptions of the “study” that pain is a concious response only. So in this way they define the conclusion that they want to reach by there own assumptions. This is the epitomy of pseudo-scientific garbage.

    Paul Deignan (ff8a33)

  14. Here is a link from the Mayo clinic on how the fully developed individual processes pain.

    There are different levels to the processing. Apparently, the thalmus specializes to a preprocessor in the adult allowing the cortex to also intelligently postprocess the signal. In the fetus, the thalmus does all the processing. So in the adult there can be a rational component to the pain response that can moderate the primary processing. Thus, we can learn to hold our hand to the fire.

    This does not mitigate the fact that there is real pain in an in the unconditioned response. This has actually been well proven by many studies–come mentioned in the link concerning needling.

    Again, the “reserarchers” have taken a conclusion that they wanted and claimed to have sorted through the literature to produce a “study”. They actually have produced no new data other than a media splash. Thus, this is pure propaganda mascarading as science. (Pape did something extremely similar conserning suicide bombers).

    Paul Deignan (ff8a33)

  15. There was never anybody by the name of Patterico employed in the history of the Los Angeles office of Shearman & Sterling, as you claim as part of your history. The onus is on you to substantiate this “fact” before any of your contributions are to be given credence.

    Investigation (dac64d)

  16. Check the name “Patrick Frey” (and also try to post on a thread that has something to do with what you are saying.

    Paul Deignan (664c74)

  17. “The onus is on you to substantiate this “fact” before any of your contributions are to be given credence.”

    LOL. This from someone that posts under the name “Investigation” and that hasn’t even investigated the rather well known name of the blog’s owner.

    Dwilkers (a1687a)

  18. Of course, as soon as a fetus/baby is born, the liberals and conservatives completely reverse positions regarding the issue of “feeling pain”. I am referring to severely deformed babies who will not be able to live very long, and the issue of euthanasia.

    All the liberals who were sure the fetus feels no pain find “experts” to tell us that the newborn is feeling great pain. All the conservatives who were so sure that the fetus feels pain find “experts” to tell us that the severely deformed newborn doesn’t. And of course, everyone looks into the political and philosophical connections of the other side’s experts, and ignores those of his own.

    LTEC (370815)

  19. I guess like everyone else I like to know where my information is coming from, but I think we put too much stock in the appearance of impropriety, rather than factually refuting an argument. Most people, and many bloggers as well, tend to report facts that favor their own views. This doesn’t make the facts any less true, and does not foreclose counter arguements. Dismissing findings because the proponents may be biased, e.g., a “conservative,” or an “advocate,” is a way of trying to end an argument without making an argument at all. This is exactly what people do to bloggers like Michelle Malkin: call her “shrill” or “ultra conservative” without refuting any of her points.

    I have no problem with abortion advocates conducting research on fetal pain, and reporting (true) results that favor their position, just as I have no problem with Patterico writing about media bias even though he is a conservative. The proper argument, as several people are making in the comments, is whether the factual findings are actually correct.

    Perhaps the L.A. Times tends to “disclose” conservative sources more often than liberal sources in order to make the conservative sources seem biased and the liberal sources seem objective and unbiased. Perhaps it tends not to report on the studies that support the pro-life position as strongly as the pro-choice position. These are all possible, but I dont think the source of a study means all that much by itself.

    Matto Ichiban (cd9a4c)

  20. Paul Deignan

    Clarify/confirm:
    1. There are no science experiments, which can be repeated, to show that fetus , 22 weeks, feel pain.
    2. The study on fetal pain, is a study of the physical development of fetus 1-22 weeks, and the assumption that parts of the human body would be similar to parts of the human fetus that feel pain, even though the fetus is a lesser and not as full developed as a human body. Taking the studies of human body pain, the findings are EXTRAPOLATED to the human fetus, even though lesser developed than human body.
    3. That’s the gist of the fetal pain issue, and nothing else more .

    Yi Ling (2e3290)

  21. “In general, babies born after 24 to 25 weeks of gestation are mature enough to survive, although they will need a prolonged period of intensive care.” From a Pediatrician’s guide at Keepkidshealthy.com.

    They survive outside the womb, but they don’t feel pain. We should be so lucky.

    RJN (c3a4a3)

  22. I guess like everyone else I like to know where my information is coming from, but I think we put too much stock in the appearance of impropriety, rather than factually refuting an argument. Most people, and many bloggers as well, tend to report facts that favor their own views. This doesn’t make the facts any less true, and does not foreclose counter arguements. Dismissing findings because the proponents may be biased, e.g., a “conservative,” or an “advocate,” is a way of trying to end an argument without making an argument at all. This is exactly what people do to bloggers like Michelle Malkin: call her “shrill” or “ultra conservative” without refuting any of her points.

    Matto,

    I am more suspicious of studies done on controversial social subjects (especially those where the results seem counterintuitive) when performed by people with connections to one side of the controversy.

    Would it matter to you, in reading about a study that finds no link between smoking and lung cancer, that one of the authors runs a cigarette company?

    Patterico (756436)

  23. In the midst of life I only heard the blip on the news (and ignored it as beside the point).

    To hear this was published in JAMA without the conflict of interest being clearly defined strikes me somewhere between, “You shouldn’t have done that” and “HOW IN THE H___ COULD YOU GET AWAY WITH THAT?!?!?” I think calling it “a regrettable admission” does not do the situation justice. If it was an article about a drug and one of the authors had stock in the parent company of the drug company, big time trouble for nondisclosure I’m sure.

    I will email discuss this with some other medical types and get back to you.

    To Matto Ichiban:
    A. If you are in the medical field and are closer to academic publishing than I am, I will differ somewhat to your opinion. If not, let it be said that whenever a talk is given, as well as an article, it is required to disclose any potential conflicts of interest. To not do so is an ethics violation (of what severity and consequence is another issue). It would be like a financial planner recommending a mutual fund that he/she is a partner of without letting you know that.
    B. I think the information found on a relatively well known blog site is much more reliable (in the end) than the LATimes and most, if not all printed media. The LATimes could write a piece and get letters to the end blasting holes all through it, but there is nothing that would require any of those responses to see the light of day. Any argument on this blog will need to stand the scrutiny of many, many. Such was how the “RatherGate” fake documents were exposed. Rapid access to expert (and not so expert opinion) from all kinds of backgrounds.
    In my mind, “even-handed” journalism is when your position is known, and you can present not only the best case for “your” view, BUT ALSO, an attempt that explains the best of opposing views (that an honest expert would agree is a reasonable representation). That is what one will get on a good blog site, through the interaction of many, long before you see it, if ever, in the LAT, NYT, PhillyInq, etc.

    MD in Philly (b3202e)

  24. Two additional points for now.

    1. Everybody sitting down? In the “Giving Credit Where Credit is Due” department, we should actually commend the LAT for writing the article.

    2. I read through the article once (can’t link to it now). One person is quoted that disclosing political views are not required. While that may be true, that would be based on the idea that financial incentives may scew perspective but not political views (questionable). I agree with Patterico’s analogy with the smoking industry. I do not understand how someone who has a financial interest in performing abortions would not have interest in seeing studies that add to approval/justification of performing them.

    MD in Philly (b3202e)

  25. The source of studies on complex social issues is certainly relevant, but I think we make too much of conflicts of interest. Some interests indeed corrupted by conflicts of interest, but it is dishonest to dismiss offered evidence just because of a conflict, just as it is foolish to believe evidence just because it is financially or ideologically independent. Conflicts of interest are just a proxy for whether we think a study, business transaction, or opinion is a fair one, and it is hard to say if it is an accurate proxy.

    To address Patterico’s point, I would be skeptical of such a report about smoking. But if I stated that the study’s conclusions were false based only on the conflict, I would be wrong to do so. I don’t dispute that the omission of the report’s authors is an ethical violation; many things may violate a rule without being factually incorrect or unfair.

    I don’t like seeing relevant points about conflicts, which should be disclosed, turn into substitutes for substantive criticism, which sounds like what the pro-life folks are doing. Here, two of five researchers had pro-abortion ties–one worked temporarily for a pro-abortion group five years ago, and another performs abortions. In the article, this becomes “years of professional and ideological investment” in abortion, and Patterico wrote that these two were “in the pocket of the abortion lobby.” Is that really so? It looks like folks have picked a political fight instead of a scientific one, which is a just cheap shot at the merits of the study.

    [Matto, where did you see me insisting that the study must be wrong because of the conflicts of some of the authors? I just said I’m more skeptical — and so did you. It should have been disclosed, and the paper should have run some quotes from any of the numerous experts who said so. And yeah, I *do* assume that people who run abortion clinics or who used to work for NARAL are in the pocket of the abortion lobby. You don’t?? — Patterico]

    Matto Ichiban (cd9a4c)

  26. I don’t like seeing relevant points about conflicts, which should be disclosed, turn into substitutes for substantive criticism, which sounds like what the pro-life folks are doing.

    I appreciate the concern, but I don’t see it that way. Looking at the posts above, a significant number are discussing issues of what is known about nervous system function and its development in utero. That is discussing factual information related to the study, even if it is not examining direct statements in the study. Other posts, such as mine, do not address the study merits at all, but address the apparent discrepancy in matters of disclosure as a separate issue.
    I think the comments you refered to in your last paragraph do indeed have a tone of dispute, but I would suggest that in the whole no one has said, “The study must be wrong because an abortionist was involved.

    MD in Philly (b3202e)

  27. Yi Ling,

    There are many well known experiments in fetal pain that are absolutely repeatable.

    The question is over how pain is processed. In the mature individual there is an additional rational component beyond the immediate sensational processing. So, we can learn to hold our hand to the fire. This does not mean that there is no pain, only that we squelch it through the application of a control signal.

    Now, if you can hold your hand to a flame, you can understand how much discipline and training it takes. Some people (most) will never learn to control pain like this. Babies don’t.

    Yes, from 8 weeks on in gestation, people feel pain. That is the only consistent interpretation of the medical evidence. (See for example the needling experiment).

    Paul Deignan (664c74)

  28. There are many well known experiments in fetal pain that are absolutely repeatable.

    Good :-) List 5 main ones, and if possible give links so I can check them out. Like the other poster I am curious how such experiments are conducted, circumstances, etc. I would not have the inclination to plough through many pages, so please, be specific on the experiment. If you can , also describe the major or main details of the experiment, which are repeatable.

    The question is over how pain is processed. In the mature individual there is an additional rational component beyond the immediate sensational processing. So, we can learn to hold our hand to the fire. This does not mean that there is no pain, only that we squelch it through the application of a control signal.

    In India, you have fire walkers. During religious festivals, the Hindus will walk on fire bed of charcoal like coal, or have sharp instruments pierced through their bodies. They “purify” themselves for such events with no meat diet and prayers and no sex. They do not feel pain. I guess the fetus would have to develop a belief system that similarly enables them to have such feats without pain :-)

    Yes, from 8 weeks on in gestation, people feel pain. That is the only consistent interpretation of the medical evidence. (See for example the needling experiment).

    8 weeks, really still a fetus, whether “people” I do not know. Pregnancies still not stable until after 10 weeks. Actually, 8 weeks, means less 1 week, as conception is already 1 week. I believe, count starts from when egg flows down, even before it is fertilised. Maybe medical people can explain why they count from week 2 instead of week 1.

    Tell me more of the needling experiment, who did it , when it was done, how it is done, how often has it been repeated…

    Yi Ling (71e96a)

  29. Paul Deignan,

    There are many well known experiments in fetal pain that are absolutely repeatable.

    Going back to my young days of science, I recall, that, you have to have

    * a hypothesis, for the experiment you are going to run, to prove something.
    On this, is the hypothesis, “This experiment will prove that fetus do not feel pain, if the fetus does not do this or that…”

    How was the scientific hypothesis set out in the many repeatable experiments you mentioned.

    In my younger days, I did set out to see what effect monosodium glutamate had on chicks and chicken, and we feed the control, plain water, and the other batches, different dosages of MSG, and then saw how they behaved over time, and those who feel sick, we noted how they were sick , how long, and those who died, we cut them up and saw what accumulated over the organs and traced the compound from MSG to what accumulates on their carcass organs. That’s admittedly about 28 years ago.

    So what and how was the science hypothesis framed in each of the many experiments you mentioned, and how was the experiment designed to prove the hypothesis and how was it conducted, and what results were obtained, to prove or disprove the hypothesis in each and every case, you mentioned, of the many.

    Yi Ling (71e96a)

  30. Yi Ling,

    I have referenced twice now the needling experiment in the fetal pain link. This link also has references to other information along the lines that you are asking.

    It is not presently of interest for me to summarize the referenced experiments beyond what I have already done.

    If, however, you have a question that pertains to something specifically relevent to the line of discussion (say perhaps there is some specific criticism that you find once you review the reports), then that may be of interest to me.

    Note that I have already made a critique of the “researchers” hypothesis and unfounded assumptions about what constitutes pain.

    Paul Deignan (664c74)

  31. Paul Deignan,

    My apologies for seemingly offending and hurting your feelings for the fetus on their pain issue.

    Yi Ling (8b198f)

  32. Yi Ling,

    These discussions are not a matter that would cause me any offense. If they were, I would either:

    1. Seek therapy, or
    2. Use these: :-(
    3. All of the above

    Paul Deignan (ff8a33)

  33. A summary of views that I’m aware of:

    “It is a peer-reviewed article,” DeAngelis said. “They are not reporting their own findings. It’s a review article based on what’s in the literature. … The references are there. Anybody who doubts the veracity can go to the original article and say they misinterpreted it.”

    That is the way science is supposed to work, said Arthur Caplan, chair of the department of medical ethics at the University of Pennsylvania. “As a scientist, if you think I’m wrong, you probe my data, question my findings and do a critical study–not point your finger and talk about my politics,” Caplan said. Rigorous methodology is supposed to minimize the potential for bias in scientific research, he said, “whether studies are done by communists in China or free-marketers in Chicago, whether they’re done by left-wingers in Berkeley or right-wingers at the Wharton School here in Pennsylvania.”

    This is true, but if it is held as adequate, why bother with any disclosures of conflict of interest?

    “If a 28 week old premie went to the OR and did not receive pain medication, the doctors involved would be committing malpractice, without question.” Practicing Pediatric Hospitalist at a university hospital in Philadelphia. (Personal acquaintance).

    They have stuck their hands into a hornet’s nest,” said Kanwaljeet Anand, a fetal-pain researcher and professor at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. He believes fetuses as young as 20 weeks feel pain. “This is going to inflame a lot of scientists who are very, very concerned and are far more knowledgeable in this area than the authors appear to be. This is not the last word — definitely not.”

    Because no one can remember being a fetus or get into the mind of a fetus, any judgment about fetal pain “will have to be inferred from evidence other than subjective experience,” Emory University bioethicist Michael Benetar wrote in a 2001 article that concluded fetuses can feel pain around 28 weeks of gestation.

    The San Francisco researchers “must have known there would be criticism from the right-to-life people,” said Dr. Arnold Relman, former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine. “In a situation as contentious as this, it seems more disclosure should be the rule rather than less.”

    Dr. Marcia Angell, a senior lecturer in social medicine at Harvard Medical School, is also a former editor of the New England Journal. “Suppose it were the other way,” she said. “Suppose there were an article that said that [fetuses] do feel pain and it was written by people who were involved in the right-to-life movement. Would I want to know that? I think I would.”

    Numerous other studies have shown that children start feeling pain as early as 20 weeks, with UK pain experts demanding that anaesthesia be used for any surgical procedure beginning at the 18th week of development.

    If two former editors of the NEJM say it was a mistake not to disclose it, to challenge them would be like saying Hank Aaron didn’t know how to hit home runs, Magic Johnson doesn’t know how to play basketball, and Joe Montana doesn’t know much about being a quarterback.

    MD in Philly (b3202e)

  34. MD from Philly,

    Because no one can remember being a fetus or get into the mind of a fetus, any judgment about fetal pain “will have to be inferred from evidence other than subjective experience,” Emory University bioethicist Michael Benetar wrote in a 2001 article that concluded fetuses can feel pain around 28 weeks of gestation.

    The writer means that fetus at week 18, when operated on, is given anaesthesia. The fetus is anaesthesia through what means? Injecting into the fetus before operating on the fetus.

    Is it given norm that fetus can survive outside womb by 22 weeks or even now as early as 20 weeks? Thus, somewhere around this 20-22 weeks is the cut off date for abortion as the fetus is capable of independent existence and thus life is protected. So would studies of week 28, be of fetus inside womb or outside womb, and if so , again, what are the specific details of these studies.

    Numerous other studies have shown that children start feeling pain as early as 20 weeks, with UK pain experts demanding that anaesthesia be used for any surgical procedure beginning at the 18th week of development.

    Again the “Numerous other studies” , what are they, basically: in the frame of reference I asked, of another poster, earlier : science hypothesis, experiment designed, how it was executed, who executed it, under what circumstances, who repeated it, where it was executed and repeated …. Maybe for fetus, the nature of the experiments would be different, if so please enlighten. Maybe, it is less on experiments but more of study of human development and then extrapolating them to fetus. Maybe it is something else. Whatever these “Numerous other studies”, the question asked, is as above.

    I take no issue with the ethical requirement for disclosure. I take issue with the repeated many studies, but do not have a grasp of the numerous studies. I also take no issue with fetal pain per se, as my stand point is, pain or no pain, the fetus has either aggregates of consciousness or spirit or soul, after implantation in the warm environment of the mother or surrogate mother’s womb, and thus deserves the respect and protection even before week 20-22. However since pain seems to be foundation argument proffered on this board, I would like to know how the studies of pain of fetus were designed formulated executed and then analysed.

    Yi Ling (94ffc1)

  35. Prior post had some mix up in paragraphing….

    Numerous other studies have shown that children start feeling pain as early as 20 weeks, with UK pain experts demanding that anaesthesia be used for any surgical procedure beginning at the 18th week of development.

    The writer means that fetus at week 18, when operated on, is given anaesthesia. The fetus is anaesthesia through what means? Injecting into the fetus before operating on the fetus.

    Yi Ling (94ffc1)

  36. I don’t know the details of how the anesthesia is given or “the other studies”. I am assuming that statements of fact like what the law is in the UK are valid.
    It is possible that the details involve the fact that a woman could be given an epidural anesthetic, injection of medicine around the spinal cord that would kill all pain sensation below that level, but that bwould do nothing for the fetus. So, either something “general” bY IV or inhalation would need to be given to the mother that would cross the placebo (which is more risk to the mom than an epidural). Unless, of course, they found some way to inject anesthetic directly into the amniotic fluid or an umbilical blood vessel directly into the fetus, but I know nothing about that.

    Thus, somewhere around this 20-22 weeks is the cut off date for abortion as the fetus is capable of independent existence and thus life is protected.

    Not quite true. In some states in the US it is legal to abort an unborn child of any gestational age, hence the controversy over “Partial Birth Abortion”.

    However since pain seems to be foundation argument proffered on this board,

    This thread was dealing with pain because that is what the original article was about. There is a proposed federal law saying that anesthesia for the unborn fetus needs to be considered (after 20 weeks??). One could assume this would make it more of a challenge to perform certain abortions, and some mothers may decide not to have it done at all, once they think the unborn child actually needs an anesthetic. The article in question was attempting to give scientific rationale why the proposed law would be a bad idea.

    MD in Philly (b3202e)

  37. Not quite true. In some states in the US it is legal to abort an unborn child of any gestational age, hence the controversy over “Partial Birth Abortion”.

    Philly, my apologies, I do not have the time to make a personal summary for you, but it is possible or even probable that, the “partial-birth” issue is different from viability issue in that, former –partial birth is of method, while latter- viability, is of cut off date where the state interest supercedes the mother’s interest and constitutional right.

    The following reproductions may tease this out and the link will give greater details in the development of the argument and the differentiation of the two – http://www.policyalmanac.org/culture/archive/crs_abortion_overview.shtml

    However, to date, the issue of pain studies, besides it being stated that there are such studies, no one on this board really grasps what these pain studies, how they were designed, conducted and then analysed. Thus I am very much in the dark on these pain studies, though as I said earlier, it is not something I take an issue with, as pain itself is not necessarily bad, but it is only in the context that, of deprivation of life, it is bad in that it prematurely ends potential life of fetus that would have probably had the chance of being born, barring life’s vicissitudes and unforeseen and destiny of the spirit of the fetus.

    In Roe v. Wade, 410 U. S. 113 (1973), the U. S. Supreme Court determined that the Constitution protects a woman’s decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy. In a companion case, Doe v. Bolton, 410 U. S. 179 (1973), the Court held further that a state may not unduly burden a woman’s fundamental right to abortion by prohibiting or substantially limiting access to the means of effectuating her decision. Rather than settle the issue, the Court’s decisions kindled heated debate and precipitated a variety of governmental actions at the national, state and local levels designed either to nullify the rulings or hinder their effectuation. These governmental regulations have, in turn, spawned further litigation in which resulting judicial refinements in the law have been no more successful in dampening the controversy.
    The Supreme Court’s decisions in Roe and Doe did not address a number of important abortion-related issues which have been raised subsequently by state actions seeking to restrict the scope of the Court’s rulings. These include the issues of informed consent, spousal consent, parental consent, and reporting requirements. In addition, Roe and Doe never resolved the question of what, if any, type of abortion procedures may be required or prohibited by statute. In 1989, the Court indicated in Webster v. Reproductive Health Services, 492 U. S. 490, that, while it was not overruling Roe and Doe, it was willing to apply a less stringent standard of review to state restrictions respecting a woman’s right to an abortion. Then, in 1992, in Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, 505 U. S. 833 (1992), the Court rejected specifically Roe’s strict scrutiny standard and adopted the undue burden analysis. Finally, in 2000, the Court in Stenberg v. Carhart, 530 U. S. 914, 120 S. Ct. 2597 (2000), determined that a Nebraska statute prohibiting the performance of “partial-birth” abortions is unconstitutional.

    The “compelling” point with respect to the state’s interest in the potential life of the fetus “is at viability.” Following viability, the state’s interest permits it to regulate and even proscribe an abortion except when necessary, in appropriate medical judgment, for the preservation of the life or health of the mother. 12 The Court defined viability as the point at which the fetus is “potentially able to live outside the mother’s womb, albeit with artificial aid.” 13 It summarized its holding as follows:

    Yi Ling (014a7b)

  38. Fair enough, if fetus is 20 weeks and above, administer pain killer for …

    20 weeks is the date by which fetus can survive outside the womb

    Congress makes the following findings:

    (1) At least 20 weeks after fertilization, an unborn child has the physical structures necessary to experience pain.

    (2) There is substantial evidence that by 20 weeks after fertilization, unborn children draw away from certain stimuli in a manner which in an infant or an adult would be interpreted as a response to pain.

    (3) Anesthesia is routinely administered to unborn children who have developed 20 weeks or more past fertilization who undergo prenatal surgery.

    http://www.cwalac.org/article_258.shtml
    http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c109:S.51:
    http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/F?c109:1:./temp/~c109DxvT8J:e1207:

    (4) There is substantial evidence that the abortion methods most commonly used 20 wee

    Yi Ling (1b1b78)

  39. if the link have time limit then the Act before the Senate is the “Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act of 2005.”

    SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

    Congress makes the following findings:

    (1) At least 20 weeks after fertilization, an unborn child has the physical structures necessary to experience pain.

    (2) There is substantial evidence that by 20 weeks after fertilization, unborn children draw away from certain stimuli in a manner which in an infant or an adult would be interpreted as a response to pain.

    (3) Anesthesia is routinely administered to unborn children who have developed 20 weeks or more past fertilization who undergo prenatal surgery.

    (4) There is substantial evidence that the abortion methods most commonly used 20 weeks after fertilization cause substantial pain to an unborn child, whether by dismemberment, poisoning, penetrating or crushing the skull, or other methods. Examples of abortion methods used 20 weeks after fertilization include, but are not limited to the following:

    (A) The Dilation and Evacuation (D&E) method of abortion is commonly performed in the second trimester of pregnancy. In a dilation and evacuation abortion, the unborn child’s body parts are grasped at random with a long-toothed clamp. The fetal body parts are then torn off of the body and pulled out of the vaginal canal. The remaining body parts are grasped and pulled out until only the head remains. The head is then grasped and crushed in order to remove it from the vaginal canal.

    (B) Partial-Birth Abortion is an abortion in which the abortion practitioner delivers an unborn child’s body until only the head remains inside the womb, punctures the back of the child’s skull with a sharp instrument, and sucks the child’s brains out before completing the delivery of the dead infant.

    Yi Ling (6b52eb)


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