The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #27347   Message #336284
Posted By: kimmers
07-Nov-00 - 07:27 PM
Thread Name: BS: Abortion: Here we go PART 2
Subject: RE: BS: Abortion: Here we go PART 2
To answer Kendall's question: a baby born without a brain (anencephaly) cannot feel pain. Pain is perceived in the cortex, the outer part of the brain, and these unfortunates don't have one. They are never conscious in any sense of the word.

While I would have to think long and hard about having an abortion if I were pregnant with a healthy baby, I would not hesitate to terminate a pregnancy for a congenital malformation as severe as this one. There are a few other malformations (well, more than a few, but many are vanishingly rare) as well that are basically incompatible with life, where the infant lives a brief and tortured existence.

In the old days, before sophisticated neonatal ICU's, before the whole family was crowded into the delivery room, and before the Baby Doe cases of the 80's, obstetricians and others present at deliveries simply did not resuscitate severely deformed babies, such as infants with anencephaly or other severe brain abnormalities, or limb/body wall complex where the internal organs are literally outside the body at birth. They would just set the poor thing aside and tend to the mother, sort of a form of benign neglect.

I suppose this is thread creep, but it's interesting. There are some fascinating books out there on medical ethics.