Unborn Babies Feel Pain

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by Bradley Eli, M.Div., Ma.Th.  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  February 6, 2018   

John Paul II: Catholics can vote for a more restrictive abortion law

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When 14 of the 24 Catholic U.S. Senators voted last month to continue abortion after 20 weeks gestation they ignored Catholic teaching that abortion is murder and the scientific fact that unborn babies do feel pain.

Although some pro-abortion doctors claim babies don't feel pain, surgeons performing invasive surgery on unborn infants before 20 weeks in the womb routinely "sedate the unborn child with anesthesia to prevent the unborn child from thrashing about in reaction to invasive surgery."

Babies as early as eight weeks old react to being touched in the womb. A 2007 study quoted one surgeon who gave his first-hand knowledge of unborn babies reacting to their surroundings in the womb:

My impression from this first-hand exposure to children with hydranencephaly confirms the account given by Shewmon and colleagues. These children are not only awake and often alert but show responsiveness to their surroundings in the form of emotions or orienting reactions to environmental events. ... They express pleasure by smiling and laughter and aversion by "fussing," arching of the back and crying (in many gradations), their faces being animated by these emotional states.

Some pro-lifers are hesitant to support any abortion bills such as the recently defeated Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act which did not ban abortions prior to 20 weeks. In his 1995 encyclical Evangelium Vitae, Pope St. John Paul II taught that legislators could vote for a more restrictive abortion law in order to replace a more permissive law already on the books. In paragraph 73 of his encyclical, John Paul II wrote:

A particular problem of conscience can arise in cases where a legislative vote would be decisive for the passage of a more restrictive law, aimed at limiting the number of authorized abortions, in place of a more permissive law already passed or ready to be voted on. ... when it is not possible to overturn or completely abrogate a pro-abortion law, an elected official, whose absolute personal opposition to procured abortion was well known, could licitly support proposals aimed at limiting the harm done by such a law and at lessening its negative consequences at the level of general opinion and public morality. This does not in fact represent an illicit cooperation with an unjust law but rather a legitimate and proper attempt to limit its evil aspects.

Watch the panel discuss the horror of abortion in The Download—Democratic Killing Machine.


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