Last night’s meeting was a huge success with lots of MPs and journalists present.
Professor Campbell and Professor Anand both made fascinating presentations.
Professor Anand was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, and completed a seven year thesis on foetal pain in three, at which point he transferred to Harvard Medical School.He completed a further seven years research into the same subject, and then became Head of the Arkansas Neo-natal and Paediatric Intensive Care Unit.
In 20 years he has stood at the cot side of thousands of neo-nates and babies – whatever he learnt during his years of research has been more that supplemented by his years of practical experience.
You just knew you were in the presence of a very learned, great and humble man – the atmosphere in the Grand Committee Room when he spoke to a rapt audience endorsed this.
Professor Anand explained the quality of the research being produced across the world in respect of foetal pain and how the view of Dr Stuart Derbyshire – as espoused in the Science & Technology Select Committee report – has become a minority view amongst academics across the globe.
It might be worth mentioning here, Derbyshire, who challenges men with the stature of Professor Anand, is a Psychologist.
I am one of those people – in common with most – who understand their own limitations; it’s a lesson Derbyshire, certainly judging by last night, has yet to learn.
On yesterday’s blog I mentioned that Derbyshire had refused to sit on the panel because he claimed it was ‘biased.’
Some of us found this slightly amusing, as recently he has sat on three such panels which were entirely pro-abortion – you might say they were biased!
However, towards the end of the evening the last questioner from the audience announced that he was in fact, Dr Stuart Derbyshire; he had sat in the audience throughout.
He challenged Professor Anand with a question, in such a way, which frankly made him look and sound like very much the lesser man.
Whereas everyone else in the room inhaled sharply at the cowardice displayed at hiding at the back of the room, obviously evaluating if he dared be brave enough to ask a question, Professor Anand was delighted.
He immediately quoted Dr Benjamin Franklin – I paraphrase what he said, but in essence it meant that one of the benefits of disagreement, was the outcome of good reason.
Professor Anand then provided an answer which was based on fact, research and personal experience.
The Professor is already back in the United States as I type this, probably at a cot-side; he was heading straight from the flight back to his Unit.
To sum up the Professor’s presentation is difficult to do on a blog; however, both his evidence and arguments were compelling.
He said it is very likely, due to how different areas of the brain develop, mainly at the sub cortex area, that a foetus will feel pain at around 20 weeks and that babies aborted after that time would experience excruciating pain.
Some people left my meeting after hearing Professor Anand, to attend the Lords, where this issue was being debated and voted upon.
The walked into the Lords’ gallery to hear Lord Darzi quote form the Science & Technology Committee report that babies don’t feel pain below 26 weeks.
Information which was provided by the psychologist Dr Derbyshire and included in the report, whilst Professor Anand’s research, and that of the rest of the world was ignored.