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Complex Science at Issue in Politics of Fetal Pain

• nytimes.com
 Since 2010, a dozen states have enacted them, most recently Texas. Nationally, a bill passed the Republican-dominated House of Representatives in June.

The science of fetal pain is highly complex. Most scientists who have expressed views on the issue have said they believe that if fetuses can feel pain, the neurological wiring is not in place until later, after the time when nearly all abortions occur.

Several scientists have done research that abortion opponents say shows that fetuses can feel pain at 20 weeks after conception. One of those scientists said he believed fetuses could likely feel pain then, but he added that he believed the few abortions performed then could be done in ways to avoid pain. He and two other scientists said they did not think their work or current evidence provided scientific support for fetal-pain laws.

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