On Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill banning abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The last time the House considered this bill, Center Public Policy Fellow Maureen Condic testified before Congress that a fetus can feel pain even before 20 weeks. You can read an excerpt from her testimony below.
“To experience pain, a noxious stimulus must be detected. The neural structures necessary to detect noxious stimuli are in place by 8-10 weeks of human development,” the researcher continued. “There is universal agreement that pain is detected by the fetus in the first trimester. The debate concerns how pain is experienced ; i.e., whether a fetus has the same pain experience a newborn or an adult would have. While every individual’s experience of pain is personal, a number of scientific observations address what brain structures are necessary for a mental or psychological experience of pain.”