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Minnesota Becomes Second State With Abortion-Fetal Pain Law

by Steven Ertelt | WASHINGTON, DC | LIFENEWS.COM | 8/2/05 9:00 AM

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Minnesota Becomes Second State With Abortion-Fetal Pain Law

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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
August 2, 2005

Minneapolis, MN (LifeNews.com) — Minnesota has become the second state in the nation to have a law requiring abortion practitioner to tell women about the pain their unborn child will experience during a later-term abortion. The Unborn Child Pain Prevention Act is seen as a way to help provide women more information and to reduce the number of abortions.

Under the law, abortion practitioners are also required to allow women more than 20 weeks along and considering an abortion to request that anesthesia be given to the unborn child before performing it.

Arkansas is the only other state in the nation with the law and the state health department says just 67 abortions were performed after 20 weeks into pregnancy, so only a handful of women will be affected by it.

However, the educational component of the bill is very helpful, Jackie Moen, of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, says. The bill helps people to "know that these are unborn children, and they can feel pain."

Last year, Moen’s group launched a billboard campaign in an effort to stop abortion advocates’ propaganda efforts aimed at denying the existence of fetal pain.

"The people of Minnesota need to have information about fetal pain available to them," Scott Fischbach, executive director of MCCL, said.

"Experts in the emerging field of in utero surgery and anesthesiology for unborn children have established that unborn babies feel pain as early as 13 weeks or younger," Fischbach added.

Dr. David Birnbach, president of the Society for Obstetric Anesthesia and Perinatology, said in testimony before Congress, "For fetal surgery…we need to administer anesthesia directly to the fetus, because even at these early (gestational) ages the fetus moves away from the pain of the stimulation."

Additional evidence comes from surgeons who have attempted to perform procedures on children in the womb. Doctors report that the babies flinch, jerk, and recoil from sharp objects and incisions.

"The neural pathways are present for pain to be experienced quite early by unborn babies," said Dr. Steven Calvin, perinatologists at the University of Minnesota Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

The Minnesota Department of Health says there were 13,788 abortions reported in 2004, compared to 14,174 in 2003 — a decrease of nearly three percent.

The abortion report covers 2004, the first full year the Woman’s Right to Know law was in place. The law requires abortion centers to inform women of abortion risks, complications and alternatives. It also provides women with facts on fetal development throughout gestation, the facts of fetal pain and other vital information.

In 2004, a total of 15,859 pregnant women sought out information about abortion services, but more than 2,100 decided against having an abortion.

Related web sites:
Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life – http://www.mccl.org