Tuesday, August 23, 2005

A Painful Issue...

The Washington Post describes a controversial article published in JAMA; researchers at University of California San Francisco reviewed dozens of studies and medical reports and said the data indicate that fetuses likely are incapable of feeling pain until around the seventh month of pregnancy, when they are about 28 weeks old. Other researchers have claimed that evidence indicates that the capability of feeling pain can occur as early as 20 weeks. The reason this is of significance is that there has been proposed federal legislation that would require doctors to provide fetal pain information to women seeking abortions when fetuses are at least 20 weeks old, and to offer women fetal anesthesia; apparently several states have enacted similar legislation. One thing is for sure: We will hear more about this as neuroimaging and neuroscanning techniques improve. For the link to the article at JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association click here.

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