Reactions by Christian groups to a new study on fetal pain have emphasized the act of killing as being a more important issue than the pain felt.
The study released on Tuesday by University of California doctors and a researcher stated that fetuses may not feel pain until the seventh month of pregnancy.
The debate over the issue comes ahead of proposed federal legislation that would require doctors to tell women that the fetuses being aborted feel pain as young as 20 weeks.
Several Christian groups issued statements on Wednesday expressing concern over the study and agreed that the killing of life outweighed any debates over the issue of providing anesthesia to the fetus undergoing abortion.
"This argument about the pain that a child in the womb may or may not feel is absurd, not only because of the sound medical findings that the child does indeed feel pain in the very early months of their stay in the womb, but the ability to feel pain should never be an indicator whether one should be killed nor an indicator of ones humanity," stated Phil Magnan, director of Biblical Family Advocates.
Commenting on the article, Fr. Frank Pavone, the national director of Catholic group Priests for Life issued a statement saying that "Other studies over the last 15 years around the world show evidence of earlier fetal pain. Research has to continue. Meanwhile, it makes sense to err on the side of caution."
He added that the possibility of pain should give people pause regarding abortion but that the absence of pain "does not justify the killing of unborn children."
"There are many painless ways to kill both born and unborn. That doesn't make it right," he said.
Operation Rescue, a pro-life organization also issued a statement expressing similar thoughts, saying "the fact remains that it doesn't really matter if the baby in uterus can feel pain or not. It is still wrong to take innocent human life no matter the age or stage of development."