Thank you for contacting me about foetal sentience and abortion.
I very much sympathise with the points you make - who could not?
As you rightly point out, the body of knowledge relating to foetal sentience has been expanding, such that in 2019 the NHS recommended pain relief for foetuses undergoing surgery for spina bifida from 20 weeks onwards. While the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has not, at the time of writing, recommended the use of analgesia or anaesthesia for the foetus in utero, including for abortions, there is a wide range of guidance and research in this area and the science is developing all the time with new discoveries constantly emerging.
I believe it is vital that, on a matter this sensitive and important, the broadest possible scope of scientific research is examined, informing a comprehensive debate and that the capacity of the foetus for sentience and specifically sensitivity to pain is fully understood and recognised.
Thank you for inviting me to the APPG meeting. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the meeting on this occasion, but I will continue to review emerging research in this area.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
Craig Whittaker MP