The Supreme Court heard oral arguments this week for Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which could potentially overturn Roe v. Wade. The case examines Mississippi’s 15-week abortion restriction. The decisions of Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey respectively made abortion a constitutional right, and set “viability” as the standard for when abortion can and cannot be restricted.
Live Action reports:
While the ability to feel pain does not determine the humanity of a living being, the issue of fetal pain has, in recent years, become increasingly influential as scientific evidence has become clearer about when a preborn child may suffer during an abortion. Preborn children younger than 24 weeks gestation — currently considered the standard of viability, though premature babies have survived as young as 21 weeks — routinely receive anesthesia during prenatal surgeries, specifically to prevent the child from experiencing pain. The latest research indicates that preborn children can potentially feel pain as early as eight weeks.
Yet for Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the response to pain from a preborn child is apparently no different than what she termed as a “brain dead” person reflexively responding to stimuli.
Virtually every state defines brain death, as death. Yet, the literature is filled with episodes of people who are completely and utterly brain dead responding to stimuli. There’s about 40 percent of dead people who, if you touch their feet, the foot will recoil. There are spontaneous acts by dead brain people. So I don’t think that a response to — by a fetus necessarily proves that there’s a sensation of pain or that there’s consciousness.