Politically charged journal article of the week

An article in this week’s Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) concludes that

Evidence regarding the capacity for fetal pain is limited but indicates that fetal perception of pain is unlikely before the third trimester. Little or no evidence addresses the effectiveness of direct fetal anesthetic or analgesic techniques.

The article is in response to proposed federal legislation that seeks to chip away at abortion rights by requiring physicians to tell women that fetuses beyond 20 weeks feel pain and to offer anesthesia to the fetus.

Expect some spirited attacks on this article.

See Fetal Pain, A Systematic Multidisciplinary Review of the Evidence, JAMA, 2005;294:947-954 by Susan J. Lee, JD; Henry J. Peter Ralston, MD; Eleanor A. Drey, MD, EdM; John Colin Partridge, MD, MPH; Mark A. Rosen, MD.

August 24, 2005

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