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Ask your MP to attend a parliamentary meeting to hear experts discuss the latest research on fetal pain

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Ask your MP to attend a parliamentary meeting to hear experts discuss the latest research on fetal pain.

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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.

To address this issue, the All-Party Parliamentary Pro-Life Group (APPPG) commissioned and recently released a report on foetal sentience and pain summarising the extensive developments in medical science and academic research that point to the same conclusion: it is likely babies in the womb can feel pain, possibly from as early as 12 weeks’ gestation, with some evidence suggesting even earlier. The report also highlighted inconsistencies in UK law – currently, 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. Sections 2(7) and 15A, and Schedules 1 and 2 of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 stipulate how animal fetuses must be killed in ‘humane’ ways, whilst no parallel legal provision exists for human fetuses.


Additionally, the Government recently acknowledged that unborn babies undergoing surgery for spina bifida from 20 weeks’ gestation on the NHS receive pain relief. Tragically, as the APPPG report stated, at this same gestation (between 14 and 24 weeks) babies undergoing abortion “via surgical dilatation and evacuation (D&E)” – in other words, dismemberment – are not provided pain relief, nor are babies at 22 weeks who are aborted via ‘feticide, where potassium chloride is injected into the heart of the fetus.’ Potassium chloride is the drug that causes death in an execution using a lethal injection. Human Rights Watch has highlighted that it is “excruciatingly painful if administered during an execution without proper anesthesia” in adults.

In 2019, 3,323 abortions occurred after 20 weeks in England and Wales.

Notably, after having an abortion at 23 weeks, one mother “claims she was never informed that her unborn baby might suffer during the abortion procedure. She says this means she could not have given her fully informed consent.” She began legal proceedings this year.

To ensure MPs and Peers are aware of the latest evidence regarding fetal pain, the All-Party Parliamentary Pro-Life Group have organised an online meeting on Tuesday 17 November from 1pm – 2pm GMT entitled “Reconsidering Fetal Pain: Authors with divergent moral views discuss the science behind fetal pain.”

In this meeting, MPs and Peers will have the opportunity to hear from John C Bockmann PA and Dr Stuart WG Derbyshire, co-authors of a recent Journal of Medical Ethics article, “Reconsidering Fetal Pain”. While these two experts hold ‘divergent views regarding the morality of abortion,’ they come together to address the science behind fetal pain.

Notably, Dr Stuart WG Derbyshire served on the 2010 Royal College of Gynaecologists’ working group, which concluded that fetal pain relief for abortion was unneccesary at any gestation. Now, both he 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 enough for the baby to feel pain.

Please enter your postcode above to email your MP, requesting they attend the meeting on Tuesday 17 November so they can hear from people who have direct experience in the field of fetal pain research.

Hosted by
Fiona Bruce MP

Ask your MP to attend a parliamentary meeting to hear experts discuss the latest research on fetal pain.