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(LifeSiteNews) — Medical professionals have known for years that children in the womb can feel pain much earlier than was once believed – and certainly earlier than 24 weeks. (I interviewed the researcher who produced one of the best studies on this here, if you’re interested.) A key reason that fetal pain bans put forward on the state level across the U.S. were so effective is that they forced a question that abortion activists desperately want to avoid: When do babies in the womb feel excruciating pain during an abortion?

The discussion was a lose-lose discussion for abortion activists in the court of public opinion. If they insisted that children in the womb don’t feel pain until 24 weeks’ gestation or later, they could be reasonably asked why they still support abortion at that stage. If they accepted the science but maintained their support for abortion, they appeared ghoulish. Either way, abortion activists were forced into a position where they were defending barbaric procedures that physically destroyed a developing human being and suffered tremendously during their extermination.

Some abortion activists, however, are just fine with that. Consider this revealing exchange between Dr. Calum Miller, one of the U.K.’s most articulate pro-life advocates and an Oxford-educated doctor and ethicists, and an abortion activist. Miller asked her if the fact that a baby in womb can feel pain mattered. “What do you think if it feels excruciating pain as like, a newborn baby?” he asked. “Or that doesn’t matter?”

The abortion activist was admirably (albeit chillingly) honest. “No. I don’t think pain matters, no. Uh, I sound like a sociopath now. [Chuckles.] But pain is of very little consequence to me. When you’re dead, you won’t feel it.”

Miller responded, “They used to think newborn babies don’t feel pain so they used to do surgery because they said these newborn babies can’t feel pain, they’re not sufficiently conscious, they’re not sufficiently self-aware, so they would just do surgery on newborn babies without any painkillers, without any anesthesia. They changed that a few decades ago because there was a pretty unanimous consensus within medical science that newborn babies can feel pain even if they can’t pass the mirror test.”

“Yes, well, regardless of when they feel pain, if they are not of any kind of valuable consciousness to me, which I don’t think they get until much older, it doesn’t matter because it’s just trying to put an emotional response on a blob,” the abortion activists responded with a smile. “It is not an entity that is developed enough for anything to be of any importance. The pain receptors are just irrelevant to me.”

The reason this exchange is significant is because this abortion activist is effectively summarizing the views of the abortion movement. “Pain is of very little consequence to me. When you’re dead, you won’t feel it.” “It’s not developed enough for anything to be of any importance.” In other words, this helpless human being inside me – a little son or daughter – is utterly worthless and can be tortured to death because his or her capacity to feel pain means nothing to me. That view does, as she accurately observes, make her sound like a sociopath. That’s because her view is a sociopathic one told hold – and her view is not mainstream in the public square, although it is mainstream in the abortion movement.

Pro-life activists should do, consistently, what Dr. Calum Miller does here: force them to articulate their position out loud. Every abortion advocate in politics, the press, or the progressive movement should be made to answer this question, from Justin Trudeau to the editorial board of the New York Times: if we know that a baby in the womb feels excruciating pain, is it not an act of unmitigated cruelty to destroy that child’s body? If not, why not?

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Jonathon Van Maren is a public speaker, writer, and pro-life activist. His commentary has been translated into more than eight languages and published widely online as well as print newspapers such as the Jewish Independent, the National Post, the Hamilton Spectator and others. He has received an award for combating anti-Semitism in print from the Jewish organization B’nai Brith. His commentary has been featured on CTV Primetime, Global News, EWTN, and the CBC as well as dozens of radio stations and news outlets in Canada and the United States.

He speaks on a wide variety of cultural topics across North America at universities, high schools, churches, and other functions. Some of these topics include abortion, pornography, the Sexual Revolution, and euthanasia. Jonathon holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in history from Simon Fraser University, and is the communications director for the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform.

Jonathon’s first book, The Culture War, was released in 2016.