Pro-Abortion Doctor Claims Unborn Don’t Feel Pain Till Birth

News: US News
by David Nussman  •  •  February 2, 2018   

Contradicted by evidence from fetal pain experts

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SAN FRANCISCO ( - NBC News is trumpeting a California doctor who denies that unborn children feel pain.

Doctor Daniel Grossman tweeted what he called "evidence-based medical information" about fetal pain capability.

He linked to a 2005 analysis of medical research with a noticeable pro-abortion bias. The study has long been a go-to resource for pro-abortion activists looking to defend their position.

Grossman serves on the board of directors of NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation. He researches abortion and contraception at the Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health at the University of California, San Francisco.

"This has become such a highly politicized topic that the facts really get lost," Grossman told NBC News in reference to abortion.

Katie Yoder of conservative site NewsBusters called this statement ironic, given Grossman's own political activism in favor of abortion access.

She commented, "Speaking of politicizing abortion, Grossman's an expert of it."

Speaking of politicizing abortion, Grossman's an expert of it.

Lauretta Brown of TownHall tweeted back at Grossman, "[D]oes this mean that this baby born at 22 weeks (four weeks before you say science says babies can feel pain) couldn't feel pain when born?"

She proceeded to list photographs of premature-born babies, asking rhetorically whether they can feel pain.

Grossman also said to NBC, "All the best evidence by researchers in this area indicate[s] that if the fetus can feel pain at all while in the womb, it's really later, in the third trimester."

More recent evidence has challenged Grossman's assertion that unborn children do not feel pain until very late in pregnancy.


Dan Grossman, M.D.,

researcher on abortion and contraception

The 2005 document Grossman cited refers to pain as "fundamentally a psychological construct" and requiring a functioning cerebral cortex.

Claims that babies do not feel pain until the third trimester are often based on the idea that the cerebral cortex must be present and functioning in order for a person to feel bodily pain. Medical research of the past 10 years, however, challenges this assumption, according to website Doctors on Fetal Pain. Some doctors argue the thalamus has a more central role in pain perception.

In his tweets, Grossman also linked to a video about a young woman who aborted her unborn baby owing to developmental issues. The video was part of a pro-abortion video series called No Choice. The video series promotes abortion access by gathering personal abortion stories.

NBC's headline said Grossman "explained" late-term abortion when he replied to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) on Twitter. Grossman was objecting to McConnell's support of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (PCUCP).

The pro-life bill would have restricted abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy. It passed the House of Representatives but failed in the Senate. Senate Democrats filibustered, and the motion to break the filibuster (called a cloture vote) failed to get the three-fifths majority needed.

All but a few Democrats in the Senate voted against PCUCP. Also opposing the bill were two Republicans, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska — both Catholic women.

Pro-lifers were infuriated that the bill toppled over in the Senate. Some blamed Senate Democrats, while others pointed the finger at Republicans, saying they should have foreseen the bill's failure and done more to work with Democrats to get it passed.

"Of course, Republicans couldn't pass the pro-life Pain Capable bill — they're just grandstanding," penned one conservative in the Washington Examiner.

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