A leading neonatal physician has confirmed that babies in the womb can feel pain at 20 weeks. According to Life News, Dr. Colleen A. Mallory, a professor of neonatology at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, said that doctors use pain medication for babies at 20 weeks because scientific literature points to babies’ ability to feel pain at that age.
Mallory said, “The standard of care for NICUs requires attention to and treatment of neonatal pain. There is no reason to believe that a born infant will feel pain any differently than that same infant if he or she were still in utero.”
“I could never imagine subjecting my tiny patients to a horrific procedure such as those that involve limb detachment or cardiac injection,” she continued.
Mallory’s comments were made in support of the Pain-Capable Unborn Protection Act, a piece of legislation that would ban abortions after 20 weeks of gestation. The Senate is currently considering the legislation.
Previously, 24 weeks of gestation was considered a baby’s viability point. However, babies are now surviving outside the womb as early as 20 weeks.
The babies “are moving, reacting, and developing right before our eyes in the neonatal intensive care unit,” Mallory said. “Given these survival numbers, the NICU commonly cares for infants born in this gestational age range. We can easily witness their humanity, as well as their experiences with pain.”
So far, twelve states have adopted the Pain-Capable Unborn Protection Act. The legislation has wide support in other states as well.
Publication date: March 18, 2016