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January 11, 2006

Fetal Pain

Author Affiliations

Letters Section Editor: Robert M. Golub, MD, Senior Editor.

JAMA. 2006;295(2):159-161. doi:10.1001/jama.295.2.159-b

To the Editor: Relying on studies indexed in PubMed, Dr Lee and colleagues1 concluded that fetal pain is not evident before 23 weeks' gestational age. Their assumption is that pain perception requires functioning thalamocortical connections, which are not formed before 6 months. Based on their inference that a fetus at that age cannot feel pain, they conclude that analgesia is not necessary during an abortion performed before the end of the second trimester. I would like to offer 2 critiques of their research.