Media promotes junk science on fetal pain

Media promotes junk science on fetal pain

The U.S. House Of Representatives recently passed an act that would prohibit abortions from 20 weeks after fertilization, except in cases of rape, incest or when the life of a mother is endangered….

The legislation states that its purpose is to protect “the lives of unborn children from the stage at which substantial medical evidence indicates that they are capable of feeling pain.” According to the bill’s authors, this occurs “by 20 weeks after fertilization, if not earlier.” Media outlets, however, are reporting otherwise. For example:

  • “The question of whether fetuses feel pain at 20 weeks is controversial. Abortion foes cite studies that show fetuses have stress responses and recoil from negative stimuli early in the womb, though most medical experts say the fetuses’ brains have not developed enough to register pain as it is typically understood.”
    Sandhya Somashekhar, social change reporter for the Washington Post
  • “The bill … claims that ‘an unborn child is capable of experiencing pain at least by 20 weeks after fertilization,’ though medical evidence does not support this.”
    New York Times editorial board

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