Science: Fetal Pain

Gabby Gingras in a swing

Determining precisely when the pre-born feel pain is largely dependent on technology to detect this. While it is an interesting topic, it has no bearing on the morality of abortion. After all, is it wrong to kill someone because she feels pain or because she’s human?

Consider Gabby Gingras, an American girl with a rare condition called hereditary sensory autonomic neuropathy, Type 5.1 In short, she cannot feel pain. As a baby, she poked and scratched her eyes, causing significant damage—she never felt pain to tell her to stop. May we kill her because of her inability to feel pain? Why then may we kill the pre-born because they don’t feel pain at certain points during pregnancy?

Back to The Science of When Life Begins

  1. “Rare nerve disorder leaves girl pain-free: Condition results in numerous injuries,” MSNBC, April 2004. Viewed online at on May 8, 2010.