Abortion foetus 'can feel pain'

RESEARCHERS have raised fresh questions about whether a foetus can feel pain - and that could have implications for abortion, writes Celia Hall.

Professor Nicholas Fisk, of Queen Charlotte's and Chelsea Hospital, London, says in the Lancet that the researchers can show that unborn babies have a 'hormone stress response when their blood is sampled in ante-natal testing'. Dr Vivette Glover, one of the authors of the paper, said yesterday: 'At the moment people carry out abortions as if the foetus does not feel pain.'

However, in an accompanying commentary in the Lancet, Professor David Clarksays a biochemical stress response which the Queen Charlotte's researchers found in a foetus can be seen even when analgesia is adequate.