Friday, August 26, 2005

More on the Medico-Scientific Evidence About Fetal Pain

On 6/6/04 and 2/4/05, we posted on the subject of expert evidence in litigation over the constitutionality of legislation restricting abortion -- specifically, on the role of medico-scientific evidence about the capacity of fetuses to feel pain.

Courtesy of Health Law Prof Blog, we now learn of a new study, published in JAMA, concluding that fetuses lack the necessary nerve connections in the brain to experience pain prior to 29 weeks, and therefore should not need anesthesia during abortions. An August 24 NYT story has more.
Fed. R. Evid. 702: If scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will assist the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue, a witness qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education, may testify thereto in the form of an opinion or otherwise, if (1) the testimony is based upon sufficient facts or data, (2) the testimony is the product of reliable principles and methods, and (3) the witness has applied the principles and methods reliably to the facts of the case.