Study: Fetuses can't feel pain

Apr 14, 2006

A senior psychologist at Britain's University of Birmingham says he has found good evidence that fetuses cannot feel pain.

Stuart Derbyshire says his study indicates proposals to tell women seeking abortions that their unborn child will feel pain, or to provide pain relief during abortions, are scientifically unsound and may put women at unnecessary risk.

Derbyshire examined the neurological and psychological evidence to support a concept of fetal pain. He says he concluded that although still immature, the neural circuitry necessary for processing pain can be considered complete by 26 weeks' gestation.

He argues pain experience requires not only development of the brain, but also development of the mind to accommodate the subjectivity of pain. And he says development of the mind only occurs outside the womb.

He said the biological development to support pain experience is ongoing, but the environment after birth -- necessary to the development of pain experience -- is yet to occur. So, he says, as such, fetuses cannot experience pain.

Derbyshire says, however, the absence of pain in the fetus does not resolve the question of the morality of abortion.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Unique entry complex discovered at Herodian Hilltop Palace

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Avoid work pain by using computer models of humans

Dec 02, 2014

Most of us suffer from work related pain at some time. It is estimated that 70% of the working population are affected by problems with muscles or the skeleton in the Western World. Ali Keyvani wants to improve ...

New technology reduces size of spinal stimulator implants

Nov 20, 2014

Spinal cord stimulator implants could use less power and be made much smaller as work from Taiwan and Israel eliminates off-chip high-voltage devices from the implant's pulse generator. This will reduce implant-related ...

Recommended for you

Ancient clay seals may shed light on biblical era

Dec 20, 2014

Impressions from ancient clay seals found at a small site in Israel east of Gaza are signs of government in an area thought to be entirely rural during the 10th century B.C., says Mississippi State University archaeologist ...

Digging up the 'Spanish Vikings'

Dec 19, 2014

The fearsome reputation of the Vikings has made them the subject of countless exhibitions, books and films - however, surprisingly little is known about their more southerly exploits in Spain.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.