Friday, February 26, 2010

Outlawing Abortion Past 20 Weeks of Pregnancy

Nebraska legislation (LB 1103, the Abortion Pain Prevention Act) would outlaw abortions of babies more than 20 weeks after conception on the scientific basis that humans past this point of gestation are capable of feeling pain.

-- From "Proposed Abortion Bill Focused on When Fetus Feels Pain" by Emily Ingram, ABC News 2/25/10

The proposed bill would ban abortions after fetuses reach 20 weeks, rather than the current limit that falls around 24 weeks. The only exception on the 20-week limit is if the procedure would "avert serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function" or save the pregnant woman's life.

This would be a marked change because current abortion bans in the U.S. are determined by fetal viability, or the point at which a fetus can live outside the womb -- which usually occurs around 24 weeks.

Abortion rights advocates argue the bill's parameters are unconstitutional and wouldn't be upheld in court, but anti-abortion activists contend that research suggesting a fetus can feel pain should be the basis for new restrictions on abortions. . . . Supporters of the 20-week limit argue that medical research shows fetuses can feel pain at 20 weeks.

The bill also specifies only physical health concerns as acceptable reasons for an abortion after the 20-week limit. That would put into place the narrowest health exception in the nation, as mental health isn't included. Interpretation of current law allows for mental health exceptions.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Abortion Ban Based on Fetal Pain Could Be Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Followup" by Steven Ertelt, Editor 2/25/10

The ban on partial-birth abortions brought home the pro-life message that abortion kills an unborn child and was responsible for shifting public opinion on abortion squarely into the pro-life category. . . . Eventually, Congress approved, and President George W. Bush signed, a national partial-birth abortion ban that the high court upheld on a 5-4 vote.

Fetal pain is not a new concept and the leading national expert on the topic confirms unborn children definitely have the capacity to feel intense pain during an abortion.

Dr. Kanwaljeet Anand of the University of Arkansas Medical Center has said he and other specialists in development of unborn children have shown that babies feel pain before birth as early as 20 weeks into the pregnancy.

Nebraska Right to Life director Julie Schmit-Albin previously told that the bill "will provide medical documentation that unborn babies can feel pain at 20 weeks gestation."

Dr. Jean Wright, an anesthesiologist specializing in Pediatric Critical Care Medicine, has also confirmed the existence of fetal pain during Congressional testimony.

“[A]n unborn fetus after 20 weeks of gestation, has all the prerequisite anatomy, physiology, hormones, neurotransmitters, and electrical current to close the loop and create the conditions needed to perceive pain. In a fashion similar to explaining the electrical wiring to a new house, we would explain that the circuit is complete from skin to brain and back," she said.

And Dr. Richard T.F. Schmidt, past President of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, confirms, “It can be clearly demonstrated that fetuses seek to evade certain stimuli in a manner which an infant or an adult would be interpreted as a reaction to pain.”

Why does a typical piece of state legislation have the potential to make a national impact? Namely because it has the potential -- and the desire from pro-life groups -- to go to the Supreme Court and result in another chipping away at the Roe v. Wade precedent that allowed 52 million abortions nationwide.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.