Fetal Pain

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-19-2007
Fetal Pain
53
Sat, 07-21-2007 - 7:41pm

The expert quoted by the pro-abortion side was Ervin E. Nichols, director of practice activities for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). He pontificated: "We are unaware of any evidence of any kind that would substantiate the claim that pain is perceived by a fetus." Two former ACOG presidents fired back. "It can be clearly demonstrated," testified Dr. Richard T. F. Schmidt, "that fetuses seek to evade certain stimuli in a manner which in an adult would be interpreted as reaction to pain." Dr. Fred Hofmeister wrote that the data from electrocardiograms during saline abortions shows "that the fetus experiences discomfort as it dies."

Many other experts wrote or spoke out on the issue, including a specialist in pain control, Dr. Vincent J. Collins, a diplomate of the American Board of Anesthesiologists. He estimated the age at which a preborn child feels pain: "As early as eight to 10 weeks' gestation, and definitely by thirteen and a half weeks, the human fetus experiences organic pain."
It is possible to detect organic pain in a non-communicative subject. Dr. Thomas Sullivan, a pediatric neurologist, says that there are two criteria. First, the subject must have the proper equipment to sense noxious stimuli. For example, a chicken with its head cut off may run around for awhile, but it's missing some of the necessary structures to feel pain.

Dr. Sullivan says that the equipment that humans use to sense pain includes special pain receptors in nerve endings that connect nerve fibers to transmit signals from the receptor to the spinal cord; neurons within the spinal cord that carry the signal to the brain; the thalamus, which senses the pain; and the cortex, which supplies psychological responses to the pain and also directs a response. All of this complex equipment is in place, states Dr. Sullivan, "perhaps as early as eight weeks, but certainly by thirteen and a half weeks."

If the equipment is there, a neurologist can look for the second element: Does the subject "respond aversely"? There are different kinds of responses to stimuli, reflexive and aversive. When the doctor hits your knee with a hammer, you kick, but this is not evidence of pain or anger. This is a reflexive response. If you stick your fingers down your throat, a gagging reflex occurs without any consultation with your brain. An aversive response is far more complex; it engages the whole central nervous system and " the whole body's attempt to escape or avert noxious stimuli."

Dr. William Matviuw, an obstetrician/gynecologist, says that the nerves that sense pain reach the skin of the fetus by the ninth week of gestation. Electrical impulses pass through the neural fibers and through the spinal column between the eighth and ninth week of gestation. Detectable brain activity in response to noxious stimuli occurs between the eighth and tenth week.1

Using all this equipment and then responding may take a little longer, says Dr. Matviuw. At seven weeks, a child will pull his lips back if you tap on his mouth. By 10 weeks, the palms of the hands are sensitive to touch. By 11 weeks, the face will respond to touch. "By thirteen and a half weeks, organic response to noxious stimuli occurs at all levels of the nervous system, from the pain receptors to the thalamus." 2

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iVillage Member
Registered: 07-06-2005
In reply to: lili4life
Sat, 07-21-2007 - 9:06pm

When you pour salt on a garden slug, it also reacts to "noxious stimuli." That doesn't mean it has a brain capable of sensing pain.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-03-2007
In reply to: lili4life
Sat, 07-21-2007 - 9:36pm
Is this the same 1980's data? Can you please provide the website that you are pasting text from?
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-21-2007
In reply to: lili4life
Sat, 07-21-2007 - 10:53pm
No, I will not provide any information to you as to what website I got it from. How about you look up the doctors and find out for yourself. These are doctors specializing in pain management or whatever else. If you are once again looking to discredit the facts, I'm not even gonna repeat myself in saying what I think.
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-03-2007
In reply to: lili4life
Sat, 07-21-2007 - 10:59pm
Kaiyasmami - are you Lili, banned for bad behavior and logging in under a new screen name? If you aren't, I don't understand what you are referring to. If you are, will you please agree to behave according to the terms of service?
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-21-2007
In reply to: lili4life
Sat, 07-21-2007 - 11:00pm
Are you actually comparing the reaction of a slug to the reaction of a baby? Thats amazing!
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-24-2003
In reply to: lili4life
Sat, 07-21-2007 - 11:04pm
As wobitnobby, the med student, has asserted before, REFLEX response does not mean PAIN response. I flinch away from something that tickles just as quickly as I flinch from pain. Any sort of touch that startles me, even a soft touch, will also get the same reflexive reaction. Same goes for a fetus.
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-06-2005
In reply to: lili4life
Sat, 07-21-2007 - 11:30pm

No, I didn't mention babies at all. Perhaps you misunderstood my post. To clarify, I was talking about embryos and fetuses.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-21-2007
In reply to: lili4life
Sun, 07-22-2007 - 12:24am
Okay, and in your opinion, what are embryos and fetuses?
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-03-2005
In reply to: lili4life
Sun, 07-22-2007 - 12:48am
Wow... 3 different screennames in the course of, what? 3 days?



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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
In reply to: lili4life
Sun, 07-22-2007 - 2:16am
*snort* Colleen you owe me so much soda it's not funny! Keep it up and you'll owe me a new keyboard & monitor :D
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