John on July 17, 2009 at 8:13 pm
From Science Daily:
[I]n a new study from the Netherlands, scientists have found fetal short-term memory in fetuses at 30 weeks…
Based on their research, the scientists found the presence of fetal short-term memory of 10 minutes at 30 weeks. They determined this because a significantly lower number of stimuli was needed to reach habituation in a second session, which was performed 10 minutes after the first session. They also found that 34-week-old fetuses can store information and retrieve it four weeks later.
The LA Times reports on discussion of the study with one of it’s co-authors:
“Habituation is a form of learning,” [Dr. Jan] Nijhuis says. ”If you live near the train station, you learn to tune it out and sleep through it. But other noise would wake you up, even if it were small. Habituation is a memory for safe noises.”
Forbes adds some commentary from an expert in the field:
“It is a fairly new idea to look at whether learning occurs in utero,” said Dr. Russell Fothergill, an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine and director of ambulatory care at Scott & White.
None of the articles mentions abortion, but the significance of the study to that debate is obvious. With viability and fetal pain as early as 22 weeks, this study only confirms that late term abortion is not the removal of a blob of tissue but the killing of a human being able to feel, learn and think.
I’m not someone who believes abortion can never be justified. In cases where the life of the mother is in peril, I think it can be. However, most late-term abortions are elective. This sort of thing can not be justified on grounds of privacy anymore than killing one’s relatives can be. It should be illegal, as it is in Britain.
If you support late term abortion, you support something indistinguishable from infanticide.