By Sarah Terzo
Abortionist Christine Henneberg wrote a memoir describing how she delivered an aborted baby intact and saw the child move outside the mother. Throughout her book, “Boundless: An Abortion Doctor Becomes a Mother,” she claims that a baby in the womb is not a human being or, for that matter, even alive.
But referencing her own pregnancy at 16 weeks, she says, “In abortion care, a 16-week fetus is not a child. But this life inside of me – it is a child. It is my child.” She also calls her preborn daughter “the growing life inside me” and says, “on the ultrasound, I can see it kicking and somersaulting.”
At 16 weeks, a fetus is still a primitive nervous system, incapable of feeling pain or surviving for more than a few seconds outside the womb. But visually, it is a fully formed human being, with 10 fingers and 10 toes, delicate facial bones, and lips puckered in a permanent, curious kiss.
However, there is evidence that even before 16 weeks, a preborn child may indeed feel pain.
A Live Action News article cited a December 2021 study in The Linacre Quarterly, in which the study’s authors considered research from medical journals published from 1936 through 2021. The authors explain how until recently, fetal pain was “unrecognized and untreated.”
However, over the past 20 years, “research in the fields of fetal pain and fetal medicine has changed this understanding.” The authors conclude, “Denial of fetal pain capacity beginning in the first trimester, potentially as early as 8-12 weeks gestation, is no longer tenable.”
Another Live Action article discussed the 2017 testimony of Maureen Condic, Ph.D., an associate professor of Neurobiology and Anatomy at the University of Utah. Condic testified before Congress that preborn children may be able to perceive pain as early as eight weeks. She noted that “neural circuitry responsible for the most primitive response to pain, the spinal reflex, is in place by eight weeks of development.”
And two other scientists, one of whom supports legal abortion, conducted a review of scientific literature which found, “[T]he evidence, and a balanced reading of that evidence, points towards an immediate and unreflective pain experience mediated by the developing function of the nervous system from as early as 12 weeks.”
The late Vincent Collins, formerly a professor of anesthesiology at Northwestern University in Chicago, was quoted in another Live Action article on fetal pain. He determined that “[f]unctioning neurological structures necessary for pain sensation are in place as early as 8 weeks… By 13 1/2 weeks, the entire sensory nervous system functions as a whole in all parts of the body (except in the skin or the back of the head).”
He also noted that at the end of the fifth week, a tap on the baby’s mouth causes the baby to move her lips. At 10 weeks, the palms of the child’s hands are sensitive to touch. He refers to experiments conducted by researchers in weeks 12 to 16 that showed vigorous fetal movement in response to painful stimuli. He says these movements indicated the presence of “acute fetal pain.”
In her book, Henneberg describes aborting a 16-week baby while she herself was 16 weeks pregnant. The abortion was meant to be a D&E, in which the baby is dismembered and pulled out in pieces. But the child came out whole and she saw him or her move. Henneberg recalls the D&E procedure that went “wrong”:
Last week during a routine D&E procedure, a 16-week fetus came out intact. I dropped it in the metal dish and I saw it move, or thought I saw it move. It was all I could do not to vomit, to run from the room crying.
Unfortunately, this experience didn’t lead to a pro-life conversion for Henneberg. Despite aborting the baby alive, and despite her insights from her own pregnancy, Henneberg still commits abortions.
Christine Henneberg, Boundless: An Abortion Doctor Becomes a Mother (San Francisco, California, 2022) pp. 150, 131, 131 – 132.
Editor’s note. This appeared at Live Action News and is reposted with permission.