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As people in India join a national abortion debate following an appeals court’s rejection of a couple’s request for a late-term abortion, the issue of fetal pain is coming into play.

One aspect of the debate revolves around whether or not unborn children have the capacity to feel pain.

Kanwaljeet Anand, a pediatrician and fetal pain specialist at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, is considered the top American expert on the subject.

Anand has conducted research on the subject for over two decades and he also happens to be a native Indian.

Anand told the Telegraph of India newspaper that scientists have seen how operations and other procedures involving unborn children in the womb have shown clear evidence that a baby feels pain before birth.

“The evidence is undeniable,” he told the newspaper. “Even a 20-week foetus is likely to feel pain, and excruciating pain.”

He told the newspaper he thinks unborn children even have the ability to feel more intense pain, including in an abortion, than newborn babies, children or even adults.

“This is because pain transmission pathways have developed in the foetus, but not the pain modulation pathways that are not effective until six weeks after birth,” he explained.

“There is more than enough evidence now. But no one is as blind as someone who doesn’t want to see,” he said, adding that not all doctors have been convinced by his studies.

[6 August 08, Ertelt, #4386, Bombay, India]