Concerning fetal minds, Jeff McMahan reports that, “Most neurologists accept that the earliest point at which consciousness is possible is around the twentieth week of pregnancy. . . . The onset of the fundamental core of brain function . . . can be identified within the limits of about 20 to 28 weeks” (2002, p. 257). Beyond consciousness, neurologist Michael Benatar and philosopher David Benatar claim that the data tend to support the view that “fetuses of around 28 to 30 weeks of gestation are capable of feeling pain” (2001, pp. 57, 63, 75). David DeGrazia claims that, “Neurological evidence suggests that a fetus becomes sentient at some time between five and seven months gestation” (2005, p. 279). More conservatively, Peter Singer argues that, “[W]e should disregard the uncertain evidence about wakefulness [‘The fetus begins to “wake up” at a gestational age of around 30 weeks’] and take as a more definitive line the time at which the brain is physically capable of receiving signals necessary for awareness . . at 18 weeks of gestation” (1993, pp. 164-5).
Concerning when abortions occur, McMahan reports that, “Approximately 99 percent of all abortions in the