by Steven Ertelt
January 18, 2005
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — A leading women’s organization says that members of Congress should tell women considering abortions that unborn children feel intense pain during the procedure.
Concerned Women for America says technological advances that help doctors discern what is happening to an unborn child during pregnancy provides strong evidence for the Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act.
The legislation requires abortion practitioners to inform women considering an abortion at least 20 weeks into the pregnancy that the baby suffers from significant pain during a late-term abortion.
Under the bill, abortion practitioners must inform women that their baby can receive anesthesia prior to abortion.
"This bill came on the heels of shocking testimony in the partial-birth abortion ban trials that unborn children feel pain far more intensely than infants or young children," said Wendy Wright, CWA’s senior policy director.
"Though pro-abortionists may have hoped to block the protection of human life by filing three separate challenges on the partial-birth abortion ban, in the end, the chilling court testimony only championed protection of the innocent victims of abortion," Wright said
Wright cites an exchange during one of the partial-birth abortion trials last year between Preeya M. Noronha, an attorney for the Department of Justice, and Dr. Kanwaljeet Anand, a fetal pain specialist at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.
NORONHA: So, Doctor, do you have an opinion as to whether the partial-birth abortion procedure causes pain to the fetus?
ANAND: If the fetus is beyond 20 weeks of gestation, I would assume that there will be pain caused to the fetus. And I believe it will be severe and excruciating pain caused to the fetus.
NORONHA: What do you mean by severe and excruciating pain?
ANAND: You see, the threshold for pain is very low. The fetus is very likely extremely sensitive to pain during the gestation of 20 to 30 weeks. And so the procedures associated with the partial-birth abortion that I just described would be likely to cause severe pain, right from the time the fetus is being manipulated and being handled to the time that the incision is made, and the brain or the contents, intracranial contents, are sucked out.
Senator Sam Brownback, a Kansas Republican, is the prime sponsor of the Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act in the Senate. Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey plans to introduce a companion bill in the House.
Brownback told the Washington Post last month 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.
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.