Physician blasts Justice Sonia Sotomayor for ‘dead brain people’ comment about fetal pain

Alejandro Bermudez   By Alejandro Bermudez for CNA

 

Ultrasound of a baby in the womb. / GagliardiPhotography/Shutterstock

Denver Newsroom, Dec 1, 2021 / 16:22 pm (CNA).

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor drew criticism from an accomplished physician for comments that appeared to draw a comparison between an unborn child and a corpse, suggesting that fetal movements recoiling from pain can be likened to reflexes in dead bodies.

The comments came as Sotomayor attempted to create question marks within the larger argument for the humanity of unborn babies during the oral arguments Dec. 1 in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a potentially landmark abortion case that could overturn Roe v. Wade.

“To compare an unborn child to a brain-dead person or a corpse flouts science which tells us that at 15 weeks gestation, a baby’s organs are fully formed, her heart pumps 26 quarts of blood a day, and her lungs are already practicing drawing breath,” said Dr. Grazie Pozo Christie, M.D., a radiology specialist with more than 20 years of experience.

Sonia Sotomayor. Public domain.
Sonia Sotomayor. Public domain.

Sotomayor’s comments came on the heels of Mississippi Solicitor General Scott G. Stewart’s argument that advances in medical science over the past 30 years have helped Americans grow in “knowledge and concern” about whether the unborn child is “fully human,” which are based in part on increased knowledge of the pain experienced by fetuses in the womb.

“Virtually every state defines a brain death as death. Yet, the literature is filled with episodes of people who are completely and utterly brain dead responding to stimuli,” Sotomayor said.

“There’s about 40% of dead people who, if you touch their feet, the foot will recoil. There are spontaneous acts by dead brain people. So I don’t think that a response to — by a fetus necessarily proves that there’s a sensation of pain or that there’s consciousness,” the justice said.

Christie, co-author of a science-based amicus brief presented to the Supreme Court in the Dobbs case, criticized the Supreme Court justice for her assertions, calling them “wholly ignorant of the tremendous scientific advances in fetal medicine.”

“As recently as last year, doctors in the Journal of Medical Ethics wrote, ‘Current neuroscientific evidence supports the possibility of fetal pain before the ‘consensus’ cutoff of 24 weeks’ and may be as early as 12 weeks,” Christie said.

“Not only does medicine agree that fetal anesthesia be administered for fetal surgery, a clear reflection of the medical consensus that unborn babies can feel pain, but like viability, the line marking when they feel pain continues to inch earlier,” Christie added.

Christie emphasized that the medical awareness of the humanity of the unborn child has made its way to ordinary citizens, and not just doctors.

“This case is before the Supreme Court today in large part because Americans have seen the evolving science and increasingly want a voice in a question of great moral consequence,” she said.

Several pro-life organizations have extensive scientific information regarding the humanity of the unborn child, including the Charlotte Lozier Institute.


If you value the news and views Catholic World Report provides, please consider donating to support our efforts. Your contribution will help us continue to make CWR available to all readers worldwide for free, without a subscription. Thank you for your generosity!

Click here for more information on donating to CWR. Click here to sign up for our newsletter.


About Catholic News Agency 3349 Articles
Catholic News Agency (www.catholicnewsagency.com)

2 Comments

  1. “Virtually every state defines a brain death as death. Yet, the literature is filled with episodes of people who are completely and utterly brain dead responding to stimuli,” Sotomayor said.

    Such a statement reflects a cognitive inability to discern distinction. The person who, through accident, illness, or injury, suffers brain death because his life-generating organs have naturally ceased to function is a totally different case than the human in the womb who is denied his ‘living’ state of DEVELOPMENT.

    Not allowing a human infant his natural right and self-generated move to develop (to ‘viability’) is no different than denying food to a hungry person, water to a thirsty person, or medicine to an ill person in order to succor, to refresh, to heal or to cure. All these aids assist humanity to flourish on the journey we all share through life.

    The fact that some brain-dead persons respond to aversive stimuli should make us question why other living, breathing, educated persons do not.

1 Trackback / Pingback

  1. Physician blasts Justice Sonia Sotomayor for ‘dead brain people’ comment about fetal pain – Via Nova Media

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

All comments posted at Catholic World Report are moderated. While vigorous debate is welcome and encouraged, please note that in the interest of maintaining a civilized and helpful level of discussion, comments containing obscene language or personal attacks—or those that are deemed by the editors to be needlessly combative or inflammatory—will not be published. Thank you.


*