Abortion Bans Premised on Fetal Pain Capacity

Katie Wilson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Abortion bans premised on fetal pain capacity are this decade's "partial-birth abortion": a medically suspect anti-choice initiative that can be politically difficult to oppose. No one is "pro-fetal pain." But rhetorically, the concept of "fetal pain" works to conflate the capacity for pain with the experience of pain. If pain justified banning medical procedures, all surgery would be illegal. Pain is a routine side effect of medical practice. What's unethical is unnecessary pain, and that's why the standard medical response to pain is palliation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10-11
Number of pages2
JournalHastings Center Report
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Issues, ethics and legal aspects
  • Health Policy
  • Philosophy

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