Protest over new report claiming foetus does not feel pain

Campaigners are protesting over a new report out today from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) which concludes that a foetus does not feel pain before 24 weeks.
The RCOG's report on Fetal Awareness also asserts that the foetus is in a state of induced sleep and is unconscious while in the chemical environment of the womb. Because the foetus 'cannot feel pain' and because it is 'asleep and unconscious' the RCOG finds no reason to review the abortion limit.
Paul Tully, from the Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child, said the report is flawed.He said: “We really feel that what the RCOG is doing here is trying to find a comfort zone for its members to salve their consciences. It is not a scientific issue that is at stake here, it is a moral one."

Pro-abortion groups hope the findings will dissuade the government from cutting terminations from 24 weeks to 20 weeks. Efforts in the Commons to reduce abortion limits to 22 or 20 weeks were defeated in 2008.

But Mr Tully said the report did not clear up or draw a line under the debate or hamper efforts to reduce the upper time limit for abortions: “Pain is subjective and cannot actually be measured. Doctors can make big mistakes about pain. Up until the late 60s and early 70s doctors treating newborn babies used to do surgery on them without anaesthetic because they thought that newborn babies did not feel pain. Now they admit they were wrong.

“To treat any sort of statement like this especially coming from a source like this as authoritative as closing the issue is frankly absurd.”

Andrea Minichiello Williams from Christian Concern For Our Nation,  said: "The abortion documentary, The Silent Scream, used ultrasound imagery to chronicle an abortion of a 12-week-old fetus. The child is first seen with a heartbeat of 140 per minute and occasionally sucks her thumb. Then as the suction tip begins to invade the womb (at this point the tip has not even touched the child), the child begins rearing violently and purposefully trying to move away. Her heartbeat increases to 200 beats per minute and even through the low quality of ultrasound images, the child's mouth is visibly open in a 'silent scream'. Is this not an emotional response?

She concluded: "This is another example of the RCOG misleading the public on the true nature of life in the womb. It is a manipulation and distortion of the facts in an attempt to buttress the existing abortion law which cannot be justified in a civilised society."

Share this story