Wednesday, 10 Oct, 2007 Science

4D Ultrasounds Challenge Abortion Laws


The latest 4D ultrasounds that can give video-like images of the foetus will change the views on the time when the foetus can be considered a person.

Dr Kristin Savell, of the University of Sydney, Australia, says that people would be more willing to change current regulations on late-term abortions.

The 4D scan gives a strong visual imagery giving a video-quality view of the foetus in real time. With this scientific improvement, one can see the small features like eyes and lips that can be distinguished for a person without any medical education. The 4D imagery augment the opinion when the foetus is considered to be conscious around 18 weeks.

Dr. Savell says that new scans can become a powerful tool to take part in the debates referring to the limiting the time of late-term abortions in the US and the UK to 18 weeks instead of 24 . Many doctors consider the foetus to be able to feel pain and have behavioral capacities by this period.

The new technology would become the best argument to prove the personhood of the foetus at earlier stages of development. Traditional 2D images were mostly readable by doctors while more advanced 3D images could produce still but more life-like images. The 4D images will have even greater impact on the public to change their views on abortions and that would challenge the laws on abortion.

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