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MPs launch parliamentary motion highlighting latest evidence on fetal pain

Carla Lockhart MP has led a group of MPs who have submitted a motion on fetal pain calling on the Government to require pain relief for babies after 12 weeks’ gestation in all invasive medical procedures including abortion.

The Early Day Motion (EDM) has now been signed by 16 MPs.

In particular, the EDM highlights the inconsistency of providing pain relief for those babies in the womb who are undergoing surgery for spina bifida but not for babies who are being aborted at the same gestational age.

The motion cites a report on Foetal Sentience and Pain commissioned by the All-Party Parliamentary Pro-Life Group, as well as “recent research by Dr Stuart WG Derbyshire and John C Bockmann PA in the Journal of Medical Ethics” which “supports the view that babies in the womb may feel pain from as early as 12 weeks’ gestation”.

As well as highlighting the inconsistency of providing pain relief for babies undergoing surgery for spina bifida and not providing any pain relief for babies at the same gestational age whose lives are being ended through abortion, the motion notes:

“that the killing of protected animals from two-thirds of gestation is subject to tighter legal regulation than unborn humans being aborted from the same stage of development”.

EDMs are unlikely to be debated in the House of Commons, but they serve as an effective means of drawing attention to an issue of importance.

Fetal pain

Last year, a large number of MPs attended a Parliamentary webinar hosted by the All Party Parliamentary Pro-Life Group (APPPG) to discuss the evidence that indicates that the unborn baby may feel pain from as early as 12 weeks’ gestation.

Parliamentarians from across the political spectrum heard from John C Bockmann PA, a U.S. Army physician assistant and member of the Conner Troop Medical Clinic at Fort Drum, New York, and Dr Stuart WG Derbyshire, an Associate Professor in Psychology at the National University of Singapore.

The two recently collaborated on the Journal of Medical Ethics article ‘Reconsidering Fetal Pain’. Though they hold ‘divergent views regarding the morality of abortion’, they approach the issue of fetal pain based on recent scientific and medical developments.

“Good evidence” that the fetus can feel pain from 12 weeks’ gestation

Both Dr Derbyshire and John C Bockmann PA believe there is “good evidence” that the brain and nervous system, which start developing at 12 weeks’ gestation, are sufficient for the baby to feel pain. In their study, they argue that women considering abortion at this stage of pregnancy should be told about the pain their unborn baby could experience while being terminated.

Currently, the use of fetal pain relief in the UK is not required by law or advised in official NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) or RCOG (Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists) guidelines.

The moral implications of fetal pain

One mother who felt misinformed about the evidence for fetal pain claims she was not capable of giving her fully informed consent for an abortion, and that she would not have chosen abortion had she been provided with this information.

Ana Maria Tudor, who had an abortion at a British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) clinic, told the Mail on Sunday last year: “I did not find out a baby at 23 weeks might be able to feel pain until afterwards. It made me feel awful and I now deeply regret my decision”. She began legal proceedings last year.

Right To Life UK  spokesperson, Catherine Robinson, said: “In 2019, 17,258 women underwent an abortion at 13 weeks or later in England and Wales. It is likely that almost none of these women will have been informed about the probability of their baby experiencing pain during the abortion. 

Sadly, the politics of abortion has meant that the medical establishment has strenuously avoided this uncomfortable issue claiming, since 2010, that the fetus cannot experience pain before 24 weeks. This is highly convenient, of course, as this is the time limit for the majority of abortions in the United Kingdom”.

“As the evidence emerges that fetuses can feel pain and MPs draw attention to this fact through EDMs and other means, hopefully this consensus will begin to crumble. The evidence that babies can feel pain in the womb, and during many abortions, highlights the humanity of the unborn child and provides another important reason to introduce legislation to protect the unborn child from abortion”.

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Dear reader,

Thanks to the support of people like you, on Monday 5 July, a major attempt to hijack the UK Government’s flagship Police , Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill with two extreme abortion proposals failed, in a major pro-life victory.

Unfortunately, this major defeat is not the end for our opposition.

The abortion lobby has already been successful at using the Coronavirus crisis to temporarily introduce ‘DIY’ home abortions.

The policy has not only accompanied a large increase in the number of lives ended by abortion but has also been linked to a number of serious incidents where women’s lives have been put at risk while performing their abortion at home.

Our opposition is now eager to see more widespread changes to legislation enacted and we are currently facing major threats on three fronts:

  1. The abortion lobby is further exploiting the COVID-19 crisis to attempt to make dangerous ‘DIY’ home abortions available permanently.
  2. The Northern Ireland Secretary has given himself new powers to force expanded abortion services on Northern Ireland.
  3. The assisted suicide lobby has brought foward a bill to legalise assisted suicide, which was introduced to the House of Lords on 26 May.

If these major threats from our opposition are successful, it would be a disaster. Thousands of lives would be lost. We can’t sit on the sidelines and watch these extreme anti-life changes become a reality.

As you can see, while we have won our most recent battle, we continue to be facing a very large challenge on life issues in the UK over the next couple of months – and we will be facing this across multiple fronts.

We are, therefore, appealing to you to please give as generously as you can. Every donation, no matter how small, will go towards saving the lives of the unborn and many others.

By stopping these threats, YOU can save lives over this coming period.

Will you make a special gift right now to help protect vulnerable lives from these threats?

Q

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Q

Be the first to know…

When you sign up for email updates from us, you will be receiving:

Action alerts on the latest pro-life developments along with tools to help you change hearts and minds

Opportunities to help protect and defend more lives

Where should we send your updates?
By clicking submit, you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms below.

Right To Life UK will use the information you provide on this form to keep in touch with you and to provide updates. You can change your mind at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link in the footer of any email you receive from us, or by contacting us at info@righttolife.org.uk. We will treat your information with respect. For more information about our privacy practices please see our Privacy Policy.

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