Doctors and specialists affirm that since abortion was legalized in 1973 in the United States through the Roe v. Wade ruling, science has made significant advances in proving that the fetus feels pain and possesses full ‘humanity’ long before 24 weeks, the gestational time established as the limit for an abortion.
In an opinion piece published in Newsweek magazine, Dr. Grazie Pozo Christie criticized Supreme Court Justice Virginia Sotomayor who, during the hearing where the justices heard arguments challenging the legality of abortion, compared the movement of a fetus that recoils when it feels pain to the muscle movement of a brain-dead person.
During an exchange between Sotomayor and Mississippi Attorney General Scott Stewart, the states challenging the legality of abortion, Justice Sotomayer said there is an “eccentric, small fringe” of people who believe pain exists before 24 to 25 weeks gestation.
“She couldn’t be more wrong,” Dr. Christie asserted. “A growing body of scientific evidence indicates that a fully developed cortex is not necessary for the transmission of pain sensations, which may be present as early as 12 weeks [gestation].”
“In fact, physicians routinely protect their youngest patients—fetal and premature—from pain. A baby born at 21 or 22 weeks receives anesthesia routinely during any intervention. Anything less would be considered barbaric,” she explains in her op-ed.
In a medical intervention during the second trimester, from 12 weeks onward, doctors use anesthesia so that the fetus does not feel pain, Dr. Christie explained.
“Whatever doubts existed in 1973 about the humanity of the fetus (and embryo) or its being “alive” from the moment of conception have been put to rest,” Dr. Christie wrote.
In his argument, Dr. Stewart mentioned the advances of medical science concerning ultrasound scans and studies performed from the first trimester of pregnancy, through which parents can know what the baby is doing, how it moves, what gestures it has, or when hiccups begin.
The ultrasound scans show “in gorgeous detail, the unborn child’s endearing, indisputable humanity. Mouths that yawn, noses that itch and fingers that scratch in the dark silence of the uterus are no longer hidden from view,” the Mississippi prosecutor argued.
Dr. Christie disavowed the “ignorance” of Judge Sotomayor, who dared to say that “40 percent of brain-dead people” recoil when you touch their feet.
“In fact, brain-dead people do not “recoil” from painful stimuli as living people do,” the physician explained. “One of the ways we diagnose brain death is by documenting the loss of response to pain. You could amputate a brain-dead person’s limb with no response at all.”
Closing her opinion piece, Dr. Christie lamented that a Supreme Court Justice had used “outdated” scientific data and “old and obsolete concepts” to evaluate a high profile and critical case involving human life.
The debate over the legality of abortion concluded on Dec. 1 after the Supreme Court justices heard arguments for and against a Mississippi state law that seeks to ban the procedure past 15 weeks gestation and, in their brief to the court, asked to vacate the Roe v. Wade decision.
The Supreme Court’s ruling will not be published until June 2022.
There is great expectation in the American people regarding the ruling on abortion by the Supreme Court, which has a majority of conservative judges for the first time in long years. A number of them have hinted at their willingness to reduce the current legal timeframe to perform an abortion, which will significantly reduce the number of abortions.