Fact Sheet: Science of Fetal Pain

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  • Fact Sheet: Science of Fetal Pain

    On May 13, the United States House of Representatives passed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. This fact sheet explains the science of fetal pain.

  • Q&A with the Scholars: The Science of Fetal Pain

    Sheila Page, D.O., is board certified in Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine and Osteopathic Manipulative Therapy, and treats a wide spectrum of patients from the newborn to the elderly, including patients with irreversible and terminal illness. Dr. Page has a special interest in children with disabilities, particularly those whose burden of care is difficult and who have been given little hope for a better quality of life. In this interview, she discusses palliative care and the science of fetal pain.

  • Radio Interview: Dr. David Prentice Explains the Science of Fetal Pain

    On May 12, 2015, David A. Prentice, Ph.D., Vice President and Research Director of the Charlotte Lozier Institute, was invited to speak on the science of fetal pain on Points of View radio talk show. On May 13, 2015 the United States House of Representatives passed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.

    The full transcript is here.

  • Arizona Fetal Pain Law Blocked

    A federal appeals court has temporarily blocked the enforcement of Arizona’s House Bill 2036, which was intended to go into effect today after much contentious debate.  The new law bans abortions after 20 weeks gestation – four weeks earlier than previously permitted in the state – and it does so on the grounds that abortions done at that stage […]

  • Fetal Pain and a Benevolent Society

    The Subcommittee on the Constitution of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee recently held a hearing on legislation that would ban abortions in the District of Columbia after 20 weeks fetal gestation, based on the ability of the fetus to experience pain at that point and beyond.

  • Q&A with the Scholars: Fetal Brain Development and Pain-Capability

    Katrina Furth, Ph.D., earned her doctorate in neuroscience at Boston University, performing her dissertation research at the National Institutes of Health. Since graduating, she has worked as an adjunct professor at Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia. Dr. Furth enjoys educating scientists and non-scientists alike about brain development and leads seminars and talks about the neuroscience […]

  • Ignoring the Scientific Facts Doesn’t Make the Pain Go Away

    Fetal pain, according to Rep. Dr. Kim Schrier’s statements at a recent hearing in the House of Representatives, is “pseudoscience, total baloney.”  Interestingly, though she recalled caring for extremely premature babies during her pediatric training, perhaps the congresswoman was unaware that, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the medical standard of care for these […]

  • New Study Shows Unborn Babies Feel Pain at 12 Weeks

    “Science Again Points to the Humanity of the Unborn.”   Washington, D.C.  – A new study “Reconsidering Fetal Pain” confirms that babies in the womb can feel pain as early as 12 weeks old. Writing in the Journal of Medical Ethics, Stuart W.G. Derbyshire and John C. Bockmann state: “Overall, the evidence, and a balanced reading of the evidence, points towards an immediate […]

  • Q&A with the Scholars: Science, Ethics, and Fetal Tissue

    Tara Sander Lee, Ph.D., is a Molecular and Cell Biologist with over 15 years of experience in academic research and healthcare. In this interview, she discusses genetic testing for diagnosis and treatment of children and the ethical and scientific issues surrounding the use of fetal tissue procured from abortion for research.

  • Testimonies of Legal Expert, Medical Experts and Abortion Survivor on Pain-Capable and Born-Alive Abortion Legislation

    On March 15, 2016, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act and the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act – historic legislation to stop abortion more than halfway through pregnancy and strengthen equal protection measures for babies born alive after a failed abortion.

    Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI) associate scholar Angelina Baglini Nguyen, J.D. testified as an expert witness on the United States’ permissiveness on abortion limits in comparison to international abortion norms as well as the constitutionality of 20-week abortion limits based on fetal pain.

  • Charlotte Lozier Institute’s Legal and Medical Scholars Testify in Support of Ohio’s Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act

    This Tuesday, the Ohio House Committee on Community and Family Advancement held a hearing on SB 127, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI) associate scholars Anna Higgins, J.D., an attorney and legal researcher, and Sheila Page, D.O., an osteopathic physician, testified in support of these bills. CLI welcomed both women as recent additions to the associate scholar team in September.

    On Wednesday, Anna Higgins also testified in support of SB 214, a bill that would defund Planned Parenthood by way of “ensur[ing] state/certain federal funds [are] not used for nontherapeutic abortions.”

  • Written Testimony of David A. Prentice, Ph.D. in Support of Wisconsin Bill to Prohibit Sales and Use of Fetal Body Parts from Abortion

    On Tuesday, August 11, 2015, the Wisconsin Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety held a public hearing on Assembly Bill 305, which would prohibit certain sales and uses of fetal body parts “from an unborn child aborted from an induced abortion.”

    Charlotte Lozier Institute Vice President and Research Director, Dr. David A. Prentice, Ph.D submitted the following written testimony in support of AB 305.

  • Medical and Legal Experts Testify in Support of Ohio’s Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act – Full Written Testimonies

    On June 17, 2015, the Ohio Senate Health and Human Services Committee held a hearing on S.B. 127, the state’s Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. Among the experts testifying in support of the bill were Dr. Sheila Page, D.O., an osteopathic physician, board certified in Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine and Angelina Baglini Nguyen, J.D., a legal expert and Associate Scholar of the Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI). CLI thanks both Dr. Sheila Page and Angelina B. Nguyen for their permission to reprint the full text of their testimonies here. In addition, CLI’s Vice President and Research Director, Dr. David A. Prentice, Ph.D., submitted the testimony below in writing.

  • U.S. House Votes on Five-Month Pain-Capable Abortion Bill on Second Anniversary of Gosnell Conviction

    Today, the United States House of Representatives will vote on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would prohibit abortion nationwide at twenty weeks, or five months, into pregnancy based on substantial scientific evidence that the unborn child can feel pain by this time. This historic vote coincides with the two-year anniversary of the conviction of Philadelphia’s “House of Horrors” late-term abortionist Kermit Gosnell.

  • Breakthrough Study on the Brain Shows Newborns Experience Pain Like Adults

    This week, an innovative study conducted by an Oxford University team revealed that newborn infants experience pain like adults. The researchers compared newborn and adult brain scans taken after administering mild pencil point-like pricks on the soles of the participants’ feet. The results showed that 18 of the 20 examined brain regions which were active in adults feeling pain were also active for the newborns. The study also found one major difference, though – the newborns were much more sensitive to pain than the adults.

  • Science Supports Pain-Capability of Unborn by 20 Weeks

    The subject of fetal pain is and has been both a controversial and compelling aspect of the debate surrounding abortion. Whether a child in the womb can feel pain and at what stage raises many ethical issues and, for many, introduces another source of uncertainty into personal views on the matter of abortion. With advances in modern science and ongoing research, it is becoming more apparent that the unborn child can feel pain by 20 weeks, i.e., five months, or even earlier in the pregnancy.

    This January, an extensively researched document on the science of fetal pain was published by the Family Research Council (FRC). The report cites more than 30 scientific studies, testimonies, medical evidence, and real-life experiences in its exposition of the science of fetal pain as the weeks advance post-fertilization.

  • Available Resources from the Charlotte Lozier Institute

    To view this list as a PDF, see: Available from the Charlotte Lozier Institute   Last updated January 21, 2020   Special Websites www.stemcellresearchfacts.org.  This website includes new videos on therapies and cures using ethical sources of stem cells, blogs on current topics, and a search engine for ethical stem cell research trials.   www.ObamacareAbortion.com.  […]

  • Abortion Reporting: North Carolina (2018)

    North Carolina’s abortion statistics for 2018 were published on the website of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services in September 2019. Abortions increased slightly from 2017 to 2018.   Changes in North Carolina Abortions, 2017-2018 North Carolina resident abortions only. Information on Planned Parenthood’s North Carolina market share is not publicly available. […]

  • Legislative and Litigation Overview of Five-Month Abortion Laws Enacted Before or After 2010

    The entire paper may be viewed as a pdf here: On-Point-34_Legislative-and-Litigation-Overview-of-Five-Month-Abortion-Laws-Enacted-Before-and-After-2010_Final   This paper sets out legislative and litigation information involving state laws that prohibit abortion at 20 weeks of pregnancy, roughly five months or more than halfway through pregnancy.   Summary   Since January 2010, twenty-one states have enacted statutes prohibiting abortion at 20 […]

  • Abortion Reporting: Arkansas (2018)

    The Charlotte Lozier Institute’s summary of Arkansas’ 2019 abortion report is forthcoming.   Note: abortion totals for 2014 were updated 11/8/2019.   Arkansas’ abortion report for 2018 was published on the website of the Arkansas Department of Health in June 2019. The report shows that the increase in chemical abortions that began in 2007 continued […]

  • Abortion Reporting: Minnesota (2017)

    Note: In July 2019, the Minnesota Department of Health revised the 2017 abortion report to reflect the addition of abortion reporting forms that were received after the report had been published and the removal of abortion reporting forms that were incorrectly filed. There were 10,134 abortions in Minnesota in 2017, of which 4,015 were chemical […]

  • Baby;s feet

    The Future of Pro-Life Legislation and Litigation

    The legal system since Roe v. Wade and through Planned Parenthood v. Casey has neglected to ask the question about the consequences of fetal personhood, fearing—rightly—the damage the answer could do to the right to abortion. But this insulation of abortion rights leaves the courts unable to rule consistently in a variety of cases where the fetal right to life has become lodged in law.

  • Constitutional Law Scholar Urges Constitutionality of Five-Month Abortion Laws

    Professor Randy Beck is the Justice Thomas O. Marshall Chair of Constitutional Law at the University of Georgia School of Law. He has authored a new article discussing the constitutionality of five-month abortion laws. The article is not yet published in a journal but has been posted on the Social Science Research Network (SSRN) with a date of March 2, 2015.

    The article is titled “Fetal Viability and Twenty-Week Abortion Statutes.” According to the abstract, the article “advances four arguments for the constitutionality of a 20-week statute, including three based on current case law or minor modifications to current case law.”

  • The Constitutional Viability of Five-Month Abortion Laws

    Five-month abortion laws restrict abortion at 20 weeks of pregnancy—when an unborn child can feel pain from abortion. Opponents of five-month abortion laws argue they violate the “viability rule” created by the U.S. Supreme Court. The viability rule provides that government “may not prohibit any woman from making the ultimate decision to terminate her pregnancy before viability.” In most cases viability will occur after 20 weeks of pregnancy. However, the viability rule is unworkable, arbitrary, unjust, poorly reasoned, inadequate, and extreme. The viability rule cannot be justified, especially as applied to five-month laws. In a challenge to a five-month law it is reasonable to conclude that the Court might abandon the viability rule altogether or not apply it to five-month laws.

  • The “No-Test Medication Abortion” Protocol: Experimenting with Women’s Health

    This is Issue 49 in CLI’s On Point Series. To view this report as a PDF, see: On Point 49: The “No-Test Medication Abortion” Protocol: Experimenting with Women’s Health   A trend of mounting concern is occurring in abortion provision.  When elective induced abortion was legalized in the United States in 1973, one oft-cited motivation […]

  • Abortion Reporting: Alabama (2018)

    Alabama’s 2018 abortion report, published by the Alabama Department of Public Health in March 2020, shows that abortions increased from the previous year.   Statistics and Changes in Alabama Abortions, 2017-20181   Abortion Totals and Trends   In 2018, there were 6,484 abortions reported in Alabama, of which 31 percent were chemical abortions (Fig. 1). […]

  • Abortion Reporting: Iowa (2018)

    Iowa’s abortion report for 2018 was published online by the Iowa Department of Public Health in December 2019. The report shows that abortions reported in Iowa reached a record low.   Changes in Iowa Abortions, 2017-2018 Information on Planned Parenthood’s Iowa market share is not publicly available.   Abortion Totals and Trends   In 2018, […]

  • Abortion Reporting: Arizona (2018)

    Arizona’s annual abortion report for 2018 shows that total abortions in the Grand Canyon State experienced little change between 2017 and 2018. However, the makeup of abortion procedures used in the state continued to show a significant increase – almost 10 percent – in the number of abortions performed by chemical means. The report was […]

  • Abortion Reporting: South Carolina (2018)

    The Charlotte Lozier Institute’s summary of South Carolina’s 2019 abortion report is forthcoming.   South Carolina’s 2018 abortion report was released in July 2019. The report was published online by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.   Changes in South Carolina Abortions, 2017-2018   Abortion Totals and Trends   In 2018, 4,646 […]

  • Abortion Reporting: Nebraska (2018)

    The Charlotte Lozier Institute’s summary of Nebraska’s 2019 abortion report is forthcoming.   Nebraska’s 2018 abortion report shows that the number of abortions increased from 2017. The report was published by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services in June 2019.   Changes in Nebraska Abortions, 2017-2018 *Information on Planned Parenthood’s Nebraska market share […]

  • Abortion Reporting: Louisiana (2018)

    Louisiana’s 2018 abortion report shows that abortion totals in the state have continued a decline that began in 2014. The report does not provide the number of chemical abortions performed in Louisiana.   Statistics and Changes in Louisiana Abortions, 2017-2018 *Information on chemical abortions performed in Louisiana is not publicly available.   Abortion Totals and […]

  • Abortion Reporting: Oklahoma (2018)

    The Charlotte Lozier Institute’s summary of Oklahoma’s 2019 abortion report is forthcoming.   Oklahoma’s 2018 abortion report was published in May 2019 on the Oklahoma State Department of Health website. The report shows that total abortions in Oklahoma have increased for the second year in a row after a decade of decline.   Changes in […]

  • Federal Appeals Court Upholds Kentucky’s Informed Consent Ultrasound Law

    On April 4, 2019 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit upheld Kentucky’s “Ultrasound Informed Consent Act,” also known as House Bill 2 (“H.B. 2”). The opinion draws heavily from the 2018 Supreme Court ruling in the NIFLA v. Becerra pregnancy help center case. In upholding Kentucky’s ultrasound informed consent law, the Sixth […]

  • Abortion Reporting: Utah (2017)

    Utah’s 2017 abortion report, published by the Utah Department of Health in January 2019, reveals that reported abortions in the Beehive State reached their lowest level in over 40 years. Utah has been reporting abortion data since 1974.   Changes in Utah Abortions, 2016-2017 *The changes in total and chemical abortions reflect abortions performed on […]

  • Abortion Reporting: Iowa (2017)

    Iowa’s abortion report for 2017, published online in October 2018 on the Iowa Department of Public Health website, shows that annual abortion totals are continuing to trend downward.   Changes in Iowa Abortions, 2016-2017   *Information on Planned Parenthood’s Iowa market share is not publicly available     Abortion Totals and Trends   In 2017, […]

  • Abortion Reporting: Alabama (2017)

    Alabama’s abortion report for 2017, published in October 2018, shows that abortion totals in the state are falling. Planned Parenthood’s abortion market share has shrunk after several negative health department inspections.   Statistics and Changes in Alabama Abortions, 2016-2017   *Information is for all abortions reported in Alabama. Information on Alabama’s state abortion rate is […]

  • Abortion Reporting: Colorado (2017)

    Colorado’s 2017 abortion report shows that abortions have increased from the previous year. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment provided statistics to the Charlotte Lozier Institute upon request and has since published the report online.   Changes in Colorado Abortions, 2016-2017         Abortion Totals and Trends   In 2017 there […]

  • 2018: A Year of Pro-life Triumphs and Challenges

    It’s officially a new year. In this time of reflection and anticipation, it is often helpful to spend a little time reviewing accomplishments and setbacks from the year past and preparing for what may come as we begin 2019. 2018 has been a year of triumphs and challenges for those of us in the pro-life […]

  • Abortion Reporting: New York City (2016)

    New York City has included abortion data in its vital statistics report since 1962. The city’s vital statistics report for 2016 reveals that abortion in the Big Apple is continuing to decline, although the abortion rate is still high compared to the rest of the nation.     Changes in New York City Abortions, 2015-2016 […]

  • Abortion Reporting: New Jersey (2016)

    New Jersey’s 2016 abortion report shows that abortions in the state have increased. However, abortion reporting in the state is not mandatory for all abortion providers, meaning that abortions in the Garden State are underreported. New Jersey does not publish its abortion report online but made it available to the Charlotte Lozier Institute upon request. […]

  • Abortion Reporting: Arizona (2017)

    Arizona’s abortion report for 2017, published online by the Arizona Department of Health Services in October 2018, shows that abortions in the state declined from 2016. The 2017 report is the first with information on babies born alive during abortions in Arizona.   Changes in Arizona Abortions, 2016-2017       Abortion Totals and Trends […]

  • Abortion Reporting: Idaho (2016)

    Idaho’s abortion report for 2016 shows that total abortions and the abortion rate are slightly up in the state. The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare’s annually published report is approximately 25 pages long. The report was released on the health department’s website in December 2017.   Changes in Idaho Abortions, 2015-2016       […]

  • Minnesota Governor Vetoes Informed Consent Bill

      On May 16, 2018, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton (D) vetoed legislation that would have protected patient autonomy and shielded physicians from liability. The Minnesota Legislature passed and presented S.F. 2849 to Governor Dayton to ensure that expectant mothers may give informed consent to abortion procedures. S.F. 2849 would have codified a woman’s right to […]

  • How the Legal Status of Abortion Impacts Abortion Rates

    One argument frequently made by supporters of legal abortion is that the incidence of abortion is not affected by its legal status. As such, proponents of legal abortion maintain that legalizing abortion will not result in more abortions, but will instead improve the safety of abortions – ensuring they are done by trained medical professionals […]

  • Katrina Furth, Ph.D.

    Katrina Furth, Ph.D. earned her doctorate in neuroscience at Boston University, performing her dissertation research at the National Institutes of Health. Since graduating, she has worked as an adjunct professor at Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia and at the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. Her interests include animal models of mental illness, in […]

  • meeting

    Three Life Policies that Challenge Supreme Court Abortion Standards

    Today I’m going to talk about three legal policies involving life protections for unborn children. I’m going to explain how each of these policies could actually be upheld under current Supreme Court abortion precedent. However, at the same time, each of these policies represents a serious challenge to current Supreme Court abortion standards by forcing the Court to consider and, hopefully, uphold policies that narrow the abortion right and call into question its continued legitimacy. But first, let’s step back and consider three basic points that help us put pro-life legislative initiatives into context.

  • Sex Selection Abortion

    Sex-Selection Abortion: The Real War on Women

    Despite advances in civil rights and the recognition by most developed nations that discrimination on the basis of sex alone is inherently unjust, a very real and pervasive form of sex discrimination is still permitted and practiced in the world today. Prenatal sex discrimination crosses cultural, ethnic, and national lines. It is practiced with impunity in many countries, including the U.S., via sex-selective abortion – choosing to abort a preborn child based solely on the child’s sex.

  • Surrogacy: The Commodification of Motherhood and Human Life

    Last month, an international coalition of individuals and organizations launched a campaign calling for an end to the assisted reproductive technology practice known as surrogacy. Stop Surrogacy Now (SSN) is urging national governments and the global community to end the “exploitation of women and the human trafficking of children through surrogacy.”

    According to the campaign’s statement, the coalition “affirm[s] the deep longing many have to be parents”; however, it rejects surrogacy as a solution because of the human rights abuse it inflicts on women and children. The coalition represents 16 organizations and more than 100 individuals from 18 countries.

  • Late-Term Abortion: Many-Layered Social Injustice

    The issue of late-term abortion is among the most agonizing and controversial areas within the larger, contentious debate on the morality and legality of abortion. To begin with, by the 20th week or fifth month of pregnancy, the fetus is clearly recognizable as a neonate and she is routinely described on professional medical websites in terms that stress her individuality and humanity; in addition, the methods used to terminate fetal life after five months are particularly grim and are often cited by abortion practitioners themselves in ways that indicate their ethical or aesthetic revulsion.

  • Slate Oversimplifies and Obscures U.S. Abortion Law Radicalism

    In an article published November 6 in Slate, columnist Joshua Keating asks the question, “How do America’s abortion laws compare to the rest of the world’s?” In light of the recent mid-term elections which saw an increase of pro-life legislators elected to Congress and the state houses, Keating’s look at international abortion limitations is timely. He relies on information from a new report released by the Center for Reproductive Rights, which favors legal abortion.

  • The Women’s Health Protection Act of 2013: The Sweeping Impact of S. 1696

    This Special Report outlines the sweeping impact that the “Women’s Health Protection Act of 2013” would have on current abortion-regulating legislation if passed. Introduced on November 13, 2013, S. 1696, if enacted would jeopardize or outright invalidate a wide range of both state and federal abortion-limiting laws.

  • Center for Bioethics and Culture Founder Releases Documentary on Harmful Effects of Surrogacy

    Jennifer Lahl, founder of the Center for Bioethics and Culture and an award-winning film director, recently released her latest documentary entitled Breeders: A Subclass of Women? The new film examines the harmful consequences of surrogacy.  Breeders concludes her three-part film series on sexual reproductive technologies.  The first installment, Eggsploitation (California Independent Film Festival Best Documentary, 2011), highlighted the risks for […]

  • Improving Joyful Lives: Society’s Response to Difference and Disability

    This paper looks at the highly complex genetic condition that is Down syndrome and society’s response to individuals with this condition. This important paper points out that while research to improve the lives of those with Down syndrome has progressed, federal funding for it lags considerably behind that for other genetic disorders. Policy recommendations are made for the support of those with this condition and their families.

  • Gestational Limits on Abortion in the United States Compared to International Norms

    This groundbreaking report finds that the United States is one of only seven countries in the world to permit elective abortion beyond 20 weeks gestation. It examines international abortion policies and finds U.S. laws to be among the most permissive in the world – allowing abortion more than halfway through pregnancy and past the point at which research shows the unborn child can feel pain.

  • Suspension of Telemed Abortion Ban Puts Iowa Women at Risk

    Last week an Iowa district court agreed to temporarily suspend the ban on tele-med abortions, allowing abortion mega-provider Planned Parenthood to continue to distribute abortion inducing drugs while the organization challenges the ban on the practice in court.

  • Momentum for Late-Term Abortion Limits

    (Click here for a chart detailing all state abortion limitations: Abortion Funding Limits)   In the last three years, an increasing number of states have debated and/or passed statutes limiting abortions beyond a certain point in pregnancy.  Most recently, Texas legislators voted to ban abortions after five months of pregnancy and to increase the health and safety […]

  • More States Move to Restrict Late-Term Abortions

    Amid the firestorm in Texas politics on the legislative vote to ban abortions after 20 weeks and increase regulation of the health and safety of clinics that perform abortions (despite a failed filibuster, a successful mob takeover of the statehouse, and now a special session of the legislature), national attention has turned to these laws […]

  • Abortion Reporting Laws: Tears in the Fabric

    This paper investigates national and state abortion reporting laws and policies in the United States. The paper makes several recommendations for streamlining and improving this broken system.

  • WHO No Bellwether for World’s Mothers

    In a recent column in the Huffington Post, Dr. Anu Kumar, the Executive Director of Ipas, a non-profit organization dedicated to expanding the availability of abortion worldwide, bemoans efforts in the United States in any way to limit abortion on demand or hold abortion clinics to a significant standard of care.  She points to recent laws passed […]

  • The Perinatal Hospice: Allowing Parents to be Parents

    This paper explores the branch of perinatal care called “perinatal hospice,” which provides support to parents and care to newborns who have been given a terminal prenatal diagnosis. Dr. Calhoun finds that allowing parents the chance to be parents, even for a short time, is more positive than encouraging pregnancy termination.