Sound Teaching

This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

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Fetus’s Early Ability To Feel Pain Disputed


A human fetus is unlikely to feel pain until the final months of pregnancy, according to a new medical report that is bound to stir up the public debate over abortion.

“Pain perception requires conscious recognition or awareness of a noxious stimulus,” write the researchers at the University of California, San Francisco.

This consciousness is created by nerve connections between the thalamus and the cerebral cortex of the brain — and these connections do not begin to develop before the 23rd week and possibly not until the 30th week after gestation, say the researchers. That means “functional pain perception . . . does not exist before 29 or 30 weeks.”

The report, in this week’s Journal of the American Medical Association, is being published just as anti-abortion groups are pushing for fetal pain laws. The U.S. Congress and several states are considering legislation that would require doctors to tell women seeking abortions 20 or more weeks after conception that a fetus feels pain and to offer anesthesia for the fetus.



I have often stated that there is an extreme amount of illogical thought being expressed by supposedly educated people on the issue of abortion, as our society debates the ethicality of the practice.

For example, the primary issue regarding the ethicality of abortion is the question, “Is the fetus human?” An ability to feel pain has absolutely nothing to do with the humanity of the fetus. To illustrate, we could use the example of a quadriplegic. Whether by injury or deformity, some individuals do not have the ability to feel pain. For some, such an inability covers the entirety of their body. In their case, it is because of a disconnect between their brain and nerves. If the scientists who produced the aforementioned study are to be believed, in the fetus it is because the brain has not sufficiently developed to process the “noxious stimulus” as painful. Regardless, the same state exists. So, do we proclaim the quadriplegic non-human, and reserve the right to extinguish their life? The absurdity is obvious.

What is more absurd is the logic of the proposed law concerning giving fetus’s beyond 20 weeks in development an anesthetic before abortion. It says, in effect, “We are going to kill the child, but don’t want the child to suffer unnecessarily during the killing.”

The fetus is alive. Further, it’s not an animal (though treated as such in this law, as it calls for the “putting down” of a fetus in the same “humane” way that is done with pets). A question to pro-abortion advocates… “What is it?” The only answer… It is a human being!