Fetal Pain Is a Lie: How Phony Science Took Over the Abortion Debate
“We know a lot about embryology [in the field]. The way that a fetus grows and develops hasn’t changed and never will,” Dr. Anne Davis, a second-trimester abortion provider, associate professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology at Columbia University Medical Center, and consulting medical director at Physicians for Reproductive Health, told Salon. “And what we know in terms of the brain and the nervous system in a fetus is that the part of the brain that perceives pain is not connected to the part of the body that receives pain signals until about 26 weeks from the last menstrual period, which is about 24 weeks from conception.”Which is exactly why medical discretion is so important, and why it’s so crucial that lawmakers allow doctors to be doctors — medical experts who know how to serve the best interests of their patients. But laws like Texas’ 20-week ban eliminate a physician’s ability to be adaptive to the unique circumstances of their patients’ health. Instead, nominal exceptions for the health and life of the mother in these laws can make otherwise safe abortions dangerous by forcing doctors to wait until their patient’s condition deteriorates before they can legally act to terminate a pregnancy and save their lives.
“Real situations in real life are very different than what we’re hearing from politicians. The whole debate — the way the whole thing is framed — is very shaming to patients. Let’s bring respect back into it. Treat people with respect. Have compassion for patients. Do what’s right for them.”
But mostly, she says, it’s about letting doctors be doctors, and keeping politics out of it.
“Let us do our jobs. Let us take care of our patients.”