by Steven Ertelt
December 20, 2004
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — A leading pro-life senator says he will reintroduce a measure during the next session of Congress that will focus on the pain an unborn child experiences during an abortion procedure.
Sen. Sam Brownback, a Kansas Republican, will put forward the Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act that would require abortion practitioners to explain to women considering an abortion after 20 weeks into the pregnancy that unborn children feel intense pain.
They would be required to ask the mother if she wants her baby to be given anesthesia prior to the abortion.
Brownback told the Washington Post that the presidential election results show Americans favor such legislation.
"This was a very clear election cycle… The country has shifted. You’ve got a pro-life electorate," Brownback said.
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).
President Bush has not staked out a position on the bill though he is expected to favor it.
Bush administration attorneys are credited with introducing the concept of fetal pain during initial hearings into lawsuits filed by abortion advocates seeking to overturn the ban on partial-birth abortions.
During the trial, Dr. Kanwaljeet Anand, a pediatrician at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, said he believes unborn children suffer "severe and excruciating" pain because "the fetus is conscious" during the abortion procedure.
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.
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."
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," Dr. Stevens explained.
Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey plans to introduce a companion bill in the House.