Should a Baby Receive Anesthesia Before an Abortion Because He Can Feel Intense Pain?

Opinion   Conor Beck   Feb 19, 2016   |   2:41PM    Washington, DC

Pro-life Utah state Sen. Curt Bramble is proposing legislation to require unborn babies be given anesthesia prior to being killed in abortion, a proposal that has supporters and opponents within the pro-life community.

Pro-lifers agree on the fact that unborn babies feel pain, a reality of abortion that has been previously reported at LifeNews. Dr. David Prentice of the Charlotte Lozier Institute said science conclusively shows that “young babies still in the womb at 20 weeks after conception, and probably even earlier, do indeed feel pain, and in fact, may feel more intense pain than a newborn or an adult.”

Prentice explained that unborn babies may feel excruciating pain during abortions because they have a high density of nerve receptors but lack pathways to tone down pain.

Some studies show unborn babies feel pain even earlier than 20 weeks after conception. As early as eighteen weeks, an unborn child injected with a needle releases stress hormones, just as adults do when experiencing pain. Hormone levels in those babies decrease when pain-relievers are supplied, LifeNews previously reported.

However, some pro-lifers argue that methods of making abortion more humane and acceptable miss the point, since a painless killing still results in death. Other pro-lifers argue that as long as abortion is legal, the baby should be spared unnecessary pain.

KUTV of Salt Lake reported that Planned Parenthood is against the bill, though for different reasons. Karrie Galloway, the CEO of Planned Parenthood Utah, said Bramble’s proposal would insert a political opinion into “a woman’s private medical decision”

A similar measure was passed in Montana in 2015 but was vetoed by the state’s Democratic governor.

Click here to sign up for pro-life news alerts from

Currently, Bramble said he is in the process of drafting the bill and determining when during the gestational process the restrictions would apply.

More than 18,000 ‘very late term’ abortions are performed every year on perfectly healthy unborn babies in America, and many states have introduced bills to protect them from painful, late-term abortions. According to the National Right to Life Committee, at least 12 states have passed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act to protect unborn babies from abortions after 20 weeks because they can feel pain. Bills also have been introduced in several other states and in U.S. Congress.

A national poll by The Polling Company found that, after being informed that there is scientific evidence that unborn children are capable of feeling pain at least by 20 weeks, 64% would support a law banning abortion after 20 weeks, unless the mother’s life was in danger.   Only 30% said they would oppose such a law.

A November 2014 poll from Quinnipiac found that 60 percent of Americans support legislation limiting abortions after 20 weeks, including 56 percent of Independents and 46 percent of Democrats.