Err toward life

A few weeks ago it was reported that the first MRI studies of infants found that they feel pain as acutely, or even more acutely, than adults:

The brains of babies “light up” in a similar way to adults when exposed to the same painful stimulus, suggesting they feel pain much like adults do, researchers said on Tuesday.

In the first of its kind study using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), scientists from Britain’s Oxford University found that 18 of the 20 brain regions active in adults experiencing pain were also active in babies. …

“In fact some people have argued that babies’ brains are not developed enough for them to really feel pain… (yet) our study provides the first really strong evidence this is not the case.” …

“Our study suggests that not only do babies experience pain but they may be more sensitive to it than adults,”…

This should be news to no one. But it’s an instructive reminder of why pro-life Americans err on the side of life, prizing the responsibility of personal relationship toward nascent life over the value of personal liberty in contexts where liberty is abstract but life is concrete.

On a practical level, it represents one of the roots of the Culture of Life—the conviction that life is life, and the constant attempt to separate some kinds from others, by development capacity, stage, or state, is ultimately a road that leads to forgetfulness about the essential humanity of each person as a creature.

Scientific research in this case has reminded us of something that the humanities should never have let us doubt. We are people.