The reality of fetal pain versus pro-abortion mythology

By Dave Andrusko

As we reported this week, the Missouri House of Representatives gave initial approval to H.B. 1266. The measure would protect unborn babies from abortion who are 20 weeks and older, a developmental point by which the baby would feel unimaginable pain as she is torn apart. If the bill eventually becomes law, Missouri would join the 16 states which have already enacted the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.

As I read some of the news accounts, replete with the customary pro-abortion baloney, I was reminded how “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” I thought back to earlier this year when Senate Democrats successfully prevented Republicans from cutting off a filibuster of the federal Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. (Sixty votes were needed to “invoke cloture” in order that could be an up or down vote.)

And as is customarily the case, the media coverage was amazingly fanciful. I hadn’t notice it at the time but evidently Maggie Fox of NBC News had read twitter posts from a “doctor” and decided to interview him after the Senate vote.

Fox can be very perceptive reporter, but less so when she wanders into politics. For example, “the doctor just explained late-term abortion—on Twitter” is the virtually omnipresent Dr. Daniel Grossman.

Grossman is not some ordinary M.D. He is a nearly full-time abortion apologist who composes such convoluted half-truths it takes five times as much space to rebut them as for him to compose them.

For example, he tells Fox

“I really feel like it’s important for policymakers, legislators, to use the best available scientific evidence when they are making policy related to health. I also think it’s important for them to listen to the patients that are affected by this healthcare and neither of those things were done related to this recent bill.”

Small problem. Everything—everything—he told Fox is wrong. Demonstrably wrong. Wrong in the sense of being debunked years ago.

For instance, using data from the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute, we’ve already posted many times that they understand that the reasons women have “late abortions” are not (as Grossman says)

for many reasons…including a late diagnosis of a severe fetal abnormality that means it would not survive after birth, or be in severe pain.

Women may also need an abortion to save their lives.

“Many reasons,” yes, but reasons having to do with relationship problems, having other children, suffering from depression, or denying to themselves they are pregnant/putting off a decision.

Grossman, for example, wrote and talked a lot about abortion clinic closings in Texas, but never fully disclosed why they closed, something our own Dr. Randall K. O’Bannon did in much detail on these pages.

But the principal gaffe—and it is colossal—is his breezy assurance that “Research has shown a fetus does not yet have the capacity to experience pain until at least the third trimester, and unlikely until birth.”

Birth?! Yikes. This is so over-the-top, so at odds with research as to be almost laughable. Grossman is presumably relying on the infamous (and nearly 13 year old) study in JAMA authored by pro-abortion activists, a canard which NRLC, among others, demolished.

But you kind of understand why Grossman says this nonsense when he adds, “There is some data to suggest that the fetus is kind of in a semi-anesthetized state throughout all of the pregnancy and that all of the perceptions are blunted.”

He’s probably referring to a 2010 “Fetal Awareness” paper issued by Britain’s Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists (RCOG). As one neurologist said of the notion that the unborn child is not fully awake, “This belief has not been a topic on the radar screen of fetal pain discussions in recent years, and appears to come out of left field. It is hard to avoid the impression that the authors view this new proposal as a kind of scientific trump card.”

As so it goes. Grossman was and is sloppy and Fox can’t be bothered to even alert her readers to Grossman’s status as an abortionist and abortion apologist (or even correctly identify Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as a Republican, not a Democrat).

Say this for the likes of Grossman and Fox. They keep us busy correcting their errors and omissions.