Pro-Life Groups Continue Push for Abortion-Fetal Pain Legislation
by Steven Ertelt
June 23, 2004
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Pro-life organizations held a press conference on Tuesday to continue the push for legislation that would warn women considering abortion that unborn children feel intense pain during the abortion procedure.
"When a woman is considering abortion, she deserves to know all that science can tell her," Michael Schwartz, a Concerned Women for America Vice President, said.
"We expect doctors in every other field of medicine to inform their patients accurately; we can’t let political controversy allow abortionists to hide the truth from women who need accurate information," Schwartz added.
The Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act would specifically require abortion practitioners to tell women having abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy that the unborn child feels pain. Under the bill, women should be given the opportunity to allow her baby to have pain control drugs or anesthesia administered prior to the abortion.
Pro-life groups hope the information will lead some women to decide in favor of carrying the pregnancy to term instead of having an abortion.
A leading doctors group has also voiced support for the legislation.
Dr. David Stevens, director of the Christian Medical Association, said that "medical evidence shows that a partial-birth abortion inflicts cruel and horrific pain on a conscious baby."
However, Dr. Stevens is concerned that abortion practitioners are withholding that information from women considering an abortion.
"The arguments of abortionists in these cases reveal deep callousness and a determination to keep the facts from their patients," Stevens explained.
In fact, during the recent New York trial in the lawsuit seeking to overturn the ban on partial-birth abortions, one abortion practitioner essentially admitted to not telling women about the pain their babies will feel.
Judge Richard Casey asked abortion practitioner Marilynn Fredriksen what she tells women on whom she performs partial-birth abortions.
"Do you tell whether or not it will hurt the fetus," Judge Casey asked.
Fredriksen responded, "The intent [is] that the fetus will die during the process of uterine evacuation."
"Ma’am, I didn’t ask you that," Judge Casey persisted. "You will deliver the baby partially and then insert a pair of scissors in the base of the fetus’ skull. … Do you tell them whether or not that hurts the fetus?"
Fredricksen snapped, "I have never talked to a fetus about whether or not they experience pain."
Another abortion practitioner in the trial "testified that the pain he is causing a baby during an abortion never crosses his mind," Stevens said.
The media event was held on the same day that attorneys for abortion advocates and the Bush administration presented their closing arguments in the partial-birth abortion lawsuit.
An April Zogby poll shows that 77% of Americans back "laws requiring that women who are 20 weeks or more along in their pregnancy be given information about fetal pain before having an abortion."
Only 16 percent disagreed with such a proposal, according to the poll, commissioned by the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC).
Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas and Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey, two leading pro-life advocates, are the bill’s main sponsors.
In addition to CWA, NRLC and CMA, the legislation enjoys support from the Southern Baptist Convention, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and the Family Research Council, as well as other pro-life organizations.