by Steven Ertelt
January 21, 2005
Little Rock, AR (LifeNews.com) — New legislation in the Arkansas state legislature would tell women considering an abortion that unborn children feel significant pain during the procedure.
State Sen. Shawn Womack, a Republican from Mountain Home, introduced the bill last week.
Under SB 74, abortion facilities must tell women 24 hours before the abortion about the "scientific research which shows that an unborn child begins to feel pain by the 20th week of gestation," Womack said. Women would also be offered a chance to have anesthesia administered to the unborn child beforehand to lessen the pain.
Modeled after a newly-proposed federal bill, the Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act, pro-life lawmakers hope it will persuade some women to opt against having an abortion.
"Obviously, there is a possibility that some women, upon being fully informed, will decide not to terminate the life of the unborn child," Womack told the Baxter Bulletin newspaper.
The bill applies to women whose pregnancies involve unborn children of 20 weeks gestational age or older.
Womack said that anesthesia is routinely given to unborn child of such an age during operations conducted on babies before birth.
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.
Dr. David Stevens, director of the Christian Medical Association, agrees and said that "medical evidence shows that a partial-birth abortion inflicts cruel and horrific pain on a conscious baby."
Womack said the bill is expected to first receive consideration in early February and he added that scientific and medical experts would be brought in to discuss the concept of fetal pain.