If a fetus does not feel pain, should doctors consider it a person? Modern technology continues to give abortionists new tools—and new arguments—in their ongoing efforts to justify the taking of human life. Where does God fit into this picture?
What do thalamocortical pathways, nociception and peripheral sensory receptors have in common? They are all terms that the medical community now uses to frame its pro-abortion stance.
Last year, the Journal of the American Medical Association published an article asserting that fetuses in the womb do not feel pain during their first months of development. Abortion supporters laud the study as showing that since the developing fetus does not feel the pain of an abortion, it is not fully human—so an early-term abortion does not really kill a human being.
The August 2005 JAMA article, " Fetal Pain : A Systematic Multidisciplinary Review of the Evidence,"puts it this way:"Pain perception requires conscious recognition or awareness of a noxious stimulus. Neither withdrawal reflexes nor hormonal stress responses to invasive procedures prove the existence of fetal pain, because they can be elicited by nonpainful stimuli and occur without conscious cortical processing. Fetal awareness of noxious stimuli requires functional thalamocortical connections."
The JAMA authors assert that these connections in the human nervous system begin to form when the fetus is between 23 and 30 weeks old, and electroencephalography shows that an unborn baby does not feel pain "before 29 or 30 weeks."
As a result, the authors conclude: "Evidence regarding the capacity for fetal pain is limited but indicates that fetal perception of pain is unlikely before the third trimester. Little or no evidence addresses the effectiveness of direct fetal anesthetic or analgesic techniques. Similarly, limited or no data exist on the safety of such techniques for pregnant women in the context of abortion. Anesthetic techniques currently used during fetal surgery are not directly applicable to abortion procedures."
Put bluntly, the study suggests that doctors can comfortably kill a fetus up to six months old, without having to trouble their consciences about anesthetizing the victim. Since the baby cannot feel pain without a mind—and has no mind, by their definition—its death does not end a human life.
Arguments continue on both sides of the issue. If you were not a Tomorrow's World subscriber in March 2005, you may want to visit www.tomorrowsworld.org to read Douglas S. Winnail's article, "Abortion: A Modern Holocaust? in our March–April 2005 issue.
But while the medical and political arguments wage on, the simplest argument of all is often ridiculed or scorned. Simply put, any fertilized egg implanted in the human womb will, if left undisturbed, grow into a sentient human being. Upon reaching adulthood, this human being will be able to reproduce itself through the same process by which it came into existence. This process is the process of life, which God Himself began when He breathed the breath of life into the first human being (Genesis 2:7).
What, then, is human life? Does it have a transcendent purpose? Does God define what life really is? "Then God said, 'Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.' So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth'" (Genesis 1:26–28).
Yes, there is a Creator God who defines what human life is—and reveals why He created it.Vain mankind will soon have to give up its self-aggrandizing word games, and its failure to exercise proper dominion over this earth, when God sends Jesus Christ—the living Word of God—back to earth, to establish His millennial rule in Tomorrow's World.