A study in Wednesday's Journal of the American Medical Association reports that data suggests foeti do not feel pain until about 28 weeks. Researchers at UC San Francisco reviewed dozens of studies and medical reports to present the findings.
The study was done to help to inform the debate over laws requiring doctors to warn women of fetal pain before abortions by creating a comprehensive and objective review of the evidence. The findings have been angrily disputed by critics as biased.
Some contend that foeti show pain by moving away from stimuli, while others contend this is only reflex. Some laws advocate anesthesia for foeti, which some call an unnecessary danger to women. Pending laws may affect up to 18,000 abortions yearly.