He blinded me with science
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Several of us "blogged for choice" on Sunday, the anniversary of Roe v. Wade . A commenter on a recent post, who I have no doubt is sincere in his or her beliefs, wrote this (and left a similar comment on another post):
My opposition [to abortion] has nothing to do with law, it has to do with the often-protracted suffering of those being aborted. Some procedures, such as saline poisoning, cause the baby to suffer for hours as he is being burned to death by the solutionâ€¦ it may take the baby many hours of intense suffering before he dies.
Not surprisingly, there's a blizzard of misinformation out there on the subject of "fetal pain." On this site, belonging to a "crisis pregnancy center," they say an eight-week old fetus is a "tiny human [who is] perfectly developed, with long, tapering fingers, feet and toes."
This site, by an anti-choice group, backs up its assertion that at eight weeks a fetus has the capacity to experience pain with some pretty convincing sounding science:
By this age the neuro-anatomic structures are present. What is needed is (1) a sensory nerve to feel the pain and send a message to (2) the thalamus, a part of the base of the brain, and (3) motor nerves that send a message to that area. These are present at 8 weeks. The pain impulse goes to the thalamus. It sends a signal down the motor nerves to pull away from the hurt.
They offer as further evidence, under the heading "Give me more proof," this: "In 1984 President Reagan said: "When the lives of the unborn are snuffed out, they often feel pain, pain that is long and agonizing," followed by a letter supporting Reagan from "an auspicious group of professors."
After perusing the abortion sites, pro and con, I figured I'd shine some serious scientific light on the subject. The short version is: this is all disinformation according to the best available science.