Poll shows that factors like fetal pain make a difference in attitudes toward abortion

15 weeks gestation

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Laura Nicole | LIVE ACTION

According to a recent Knights of Columbus/Marist poll, 71% of Americans want more restrictions on abortion than currently exist. The poll also revealed that most Americans have another important factor in mind when considering abortion: fetal pain. 

When asked “at which point should abortions for other reasons be limited” if abortion remains legal for rape, incest, and the mother’s life, 42% of respondents answered that abortion should be limited starting at “the point at which a fetus can feel pain.”

While a human being’s ability to feel pain does not determine his or her humanity or worthiness to live, there is debate revolving around the preborn child’s ability to feel pain, with abortion advocates denying that such ability exists. Every human being, from the moment of fertilization, deserves the protection of his or her right to life.



Preborn babies are able to respond to soundlight, and temperature. And as scientific understanding of the preborn baby has expanded, a growing body of evidence indicates that babies can also feel pain much earlier than scientists initially believed, possibly even as early as eight weeks.

leading neurologist, who once testified before Congress that there is “good evidence that fetuses cannot experience pain,” has changed his mind in the face of this mounting evidence. Dr. Stuart Derbyshire’s cornerstone paper on fetal pain now states that the former consensus he once defended is “no longer tenable,” and that preborn babies can feel pain before 20 weeks, and as early as 12 weeks – something doctors have had evidence of for decades

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For quite some time, most scientists had denied that newborns felt pain and routinely performed surgery without pain medication. This only began to change in the 1980s, as the scientific community reevaluated the evidence and determined that newborn babies unquestionably do feel pain. The consensus is so widespread now that the mere proposal that newborns do not feel pain is unthinkable. The same is now happening with preborn babies, who are given pain medication before undergoing surgery in the womb.

READ: What does a 15-week-old human being in the womb look like?

Like other human rights offenses, abortion is made acceptable to others when the victims of the violence of abortion are dehumanized, described as a “clump of cells,” the “products of conception,” without heartbeat but with mere “embryonic pulsing.” Claiming that preborn babies cannot feel pain and calling the supporting data “fringe science“ is part of this ideology. But when people learn about fetal development and the truth about what abortion entails, their minds begin to change towards a more pro-life outlook. 

As Live Action News has reported, polling has shown that when given factual information about fetal development, more people are likely to agree with heartbeat laws and less likely to support abortion. Videos from the Endowment for Human Development showing the embryonic heart beating at six weeks can leave little doubt that preborn babies do have a heartbeat before many women even know they are pregnant. Live Action’s Baby Olivia videos are actively changing hearts and minds by showing medically accurate information about fetal development in a visually engaging way. And Live Action interviews in Times Square also show how peoples’ minds change when they can see how actual abortions are committed. 

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views the Virginia Christian Alliance

About the Author

Live Action
Live Action was started in 2003, by one 15-year-old girl, Lila Rose, in her family’s living room – with the goal to expose what abortion does to the preborn child.  Lila worked with friends to make pro-life presentations to groups and shine a light on the reality of abortion.  Lila started undercover investigations in 2006, while at UCLA.  She was 18 at the time. In 2008, Live Action was legally formed as a non-partisan, non-profit organization. Later that year, with a few of her friends, Lila created and produced the first nationally televised undercover investigation of the abortion industry. Live Action exists today to shift public opinion on the killing of preborn children and defend the rights of these most vulnerable among us. Through compelling educational media, human interest storytelling, and investigative reporting, we reveal the humanity of the preborn and expose the abortion industry exploiting women for profit. With the largest and most engaged online following in the pro-life movement, Live Action is leading the transformation to end this grave human rights abuse.