President Ronald Reagan Felt Unborn Children’s Fetal Pain
by Jill Stanek
June 10, 2004
LifeNews.com Note: Jill Stanek fought to stop "live birth abortions" after witnessing one as an RN at Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn, Illinois. Her speaking out led to the Born Alive Infants Protection Act legislation, signed by President Bush, that would ensure that proper medical care be given to unborn children who survive botched abortion attempts.
President Ronald Reagan was ridiculed by liberals when he told the National Religious Broadcasters in January 1984, "When the lives of the unborn are snuffed out, they often feel pain, pain that is long and agonizing."
Among others, Leftist syndicated columnist Ellen Goodman scorned:
Explaining that Americans "yearn to explore life’s deepest truths," the President shared a few of those "truths," including the notion that the aborted fetus feels pain — "pain that is long and agonizing." This turned out to be a "fact" his speech-writers culled from an antiabortion journal, the Human Life Review, and one that was roundly disputed by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
All ACOG’s agreement did was merely demonstrate its willingness to go to bed with the feminist lobby, although it won’t marry it. ACOG can sweet-talk all it wants, but the number of OB/GYNs who commit abortion has declined by 37 percent since 1982.
But two weeks after President Reagan made a remark that the Left schizophrenically decried as loudly as the clubbing of baby seals, a group of doctors and professors, including two ACOG past presidents and former National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) co-founder Dr. Bernard Nathanson, corroborated the President.
"Mr. President, in drawing attention to the capability of the human fetus to feel pain, you stand on firmly established ground," they wrote him in a letter, drawing upon scientific evidence dating back to 1945.
Only pro-aborts could maintain with cutthroat straight faces that babies begin to feel pain miraculously at delivery, when sensory switches must be suddenly activated at the same time a seven-pound bloblike appendage inexplicably morphs into a human. Only mopes like me would think that sounds stupid.
But science is on the side of mopes like me. Research shows preborn babies respond to touch, sound, taste, and light by 20 weeks, and to pain between 16-20 weeks, if not sooner. All sensory nerves and organs are developed by eight weeks, with communication established between them by 11 to 16 weeks.
Actually, it gets worse. "A fetus at 20 to 32 weeks gestation would experience a much more intense pain than older infants or children or adults," stated fetal pain expert Dr. Kanwaljeet Anand in his January 15, 2004, report for the Partial Birth Abortion (PBA) Ban trials.
This is because, "the highest density of pain receptors per square inch of skin in human development occurs in utero from 20 to 30 weeks gestation," stated Dr. Anand, adding also that babies this age have not developed compensatory responses to pain.
When my own grandson was born prematurely in August 2000 at 25 gestational weeks, we were not allowed to stroke him because, we were told, it would hurt rather than soothe him to touch his sensitive skin.
The doctors defending President Reagan’s position in 1984 wrote, "Observations of the fetal electrocardiogram and the increase in fetal movements in saline abortions indicate that the fetus experiences discomfort as it dies. Indeed, one doctor who, the New York Times wrote, ‘conscientiously performs’ saline abortions stated, ‘When you inject the saline, you often see an increase in fetal movements, it’s horrible.’"
The fact that preborn babies not only feel pain, but feel it to worse than you or I, did not stop San Francisco Judge Phyllis Hamilton from recently declaring the PBA Ban unconstitutional on behalf of Planned Parenthood, whose Mengelean abortionists are free to commit PBA unfettered again.
In response, the Cincinnati Enquirer editorialized on June 5, as quoted in yesterday’s Life Advocacy Briefing:
Even those who believe in abortion rights should find something wrong with a ruling that dismisses as "irrelevant" the issue of how much pain a fetus feels while it is being aborted…. The ruling threatens a great deal more than the legislation itself. It is a painful, rather startling look at where the abortion debate has led us and how far it has polarized us — not only from one another but from some of our most basic instincts as human beings. … Asking people not to think about the actual act of abortion is hardly a credible means to defending it as a reproductive option. Denying that abortion is a haunting issue won’t keep it from being one.
On May 20, the Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act was introduced in both the U. S. House and Senate. This would mandate that abortionists inform mothers planning to abort babies 20 weeks and older that their babies will likely feel pain, and would they like him or her to be anesthetized while being dismembered?
The Act reminds congressmen that anesthesia is routinely given to wanted children from 20 weeks on who undergo prenatal surgery.
The Act also reminds congressmen that federal laws require pain-free and humane methods of slaughtering cattle, calves, horses, sheep, and swine by either one sharp blow, gunshot, or electrical impulse, or by quickly severing neck arteries with a sharp knife.
Oh, that babies being aborted in America should be treated like animals.
God bless America’s greatest pro-life President, Ronald Reagan.