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Hullabaloo


Monday, January 27, 2014

 
Is childbirth a form of child abuse?

by digby

Another day another anti-abortion lie:

A Kentucky state politician is claiming that abortions are a form of domestic violence because they cause pain to the fetus.

“The most brutal form of domestic violence is the violence against unborn children,” Republican state Rep. Joe Fischer.

I suppose he might be right about that. But it's not the 20 week old fetus that hasn't neurologically developed to the point of being able to feel pain. It's the fully formed baby being physically forced to pass through a hole the size of a bagel.

Here's just one complication of childbirth that most definitely causes pain to the baby:

Fractured clavicle in the newborn

A fractured clavicle in the newborn is a broken collar bone in a baby that was just delivered.

Causes

A fracture of a newborn's collar bone (clavicle) can occur during a difficult vaginal delivery. It is fairly common during difficult births.

Symptoms

The baby will not move the painful, injured arm. Instead, the baby will hold it still against the side of the body. Lifting the baby under the arms causes the child pain. Sometimes the fracture can be felt with the fingers, but usually the problem cannot be seen or felt.

Within a few weeks, a hard lump may develop where the bone is healing. This lump may be the only sign that the newborn had a broken collar bone.

Exams and Tests

A chest x-ray will show whether or not there is a broken bone.

An infant's refusal to move an arm may also be due to partial dislocation of the elbow (nursemaid's elbow), nerve damage (Erb palsy), broken humerus (upper arm bone), or other causes.

That's not the only thing. Anyone who's ever been in a hospital nursery or an NICU can see that newborns are often bruised. Their heads are commonly misshapen, and although they don't know whether or not the naturally soft skull adjusting to the birth canal is painful to the baby, it certainly could be. The physical trauma for both mother and child in normal childbirth is harrowing. The old common wisdom was that even newborns couldn't feel pain so no harm no foul. But we know better now. Newborns do feel pain and, like their mothers, they certainly feel it during childbirth.

Nobody's suggesting (yet) that we must require all women to have ceasarean sections in order to avoid abusing the fetus, but the way they're going, it's only a matter of time before some zealot decides that women are child abusers if they opt for a natural delivery. (Or, at the very least, they'll have the decision made for them by a tribunal of priests, legislators and judges. Silly women can't be trusted to make such important decisions on their own.)

To distort science to assert that fetuses feel pain long before their neurological systems have developed is simply daft:

"The way that a fetus grows and develops hasn’t changed and never will,” Dr. Anne Davis, a second-trimester abortion provider, associate professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology at Columbia University Medical Center, and consulting medical director at Physicians for Reproductive Health, told Salon. “And what we know in terms of the brain and the nervous system in a fetus is that the part of the brain that perceives pain is not connected to the part of the body that receives pain signals until about 26 weeks from the last menstrual period, which is about 24 weeks from conception.”

So, these anti-abortion zealots are lying as usual.

And their unctuous concern for the non-existent pain of a 20 week old fetus is especially rich considering how little they care about whether it has any food in its belly or a roof over its head once it's born.


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