Magazine November 29, 2021, Issue

The Suffering of the Unborn

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Scientific evidence demonstrates the reality of fetal pain

In the many decades since the Supreme Court’s decisions in Roe and Casey, there have been significant technological and medical advances in human embryology. In particular, rigorous investigations of fetal behavior that became technologically possible only at the end of the 20th century created an unprecedented new tool for studying fetal behavior. And by directly observing fetal behavior, these tools have given us a far better understanding of fetal consciousness and pain than was available at the time of Roe or Casey. There is now strong evidence that fetuses as early as twelve weeks exhibit conscious, intentional behavior and that

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This article appears as “Unborn Suffering” in the November 29, 2021, print edition of National Review.

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Maureen Condic is an associate scholar at the Charlotte Lozier Institute and an associate professor of neurobiology at the University of Utah. Her research focuses on the role of stem cells in development and regeneration.

In This Issue


Politics & Policy

End Roe

In this special issue, we examine the legal arguments, the policy arguments, and the social arguments for finally ending the Roe era in America.

The Law

The Policy

The Social Impact

Books, Arts & Manners


Weird English

A review of Highly Irregular: Why Tough, Through, and Dough Don’t Rhyme — and Other Oddities of the English Language, by Arika Okrent.


The Week

The Week

Glenn Youngkin unlocked the secret to electoral success in a Virginia that hadn’t elected a Republican statewide in twelve years.


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