by Steven Ertelt
January 18, 2006
Phoenix, AZ (LifeNews.com) — An Arizona state House committee on Wednesday signed off on legislation to require abortion practitioners to inform women considering a later-term abortion that her unborn baby will likely experience severe pain.
The House Health Committee approved the measure (HB2254) on a 5-1 vote. The legislation must also be supported by two other committees before it can go to the House floor.
The requirement applies to any abortion performed after 20 weeks of pregnancy and would not apply to women in an extremely rare case who would need an emergency abortion to prevent their death.
Those abortion practitioners who violate the law would be determined to have engaged in unprofessional conduct which could result in losing their medical licenses.
Supports of the bill hope it will persuade some women to not have abortions.
Several experts in embryology have testified that unborn children have the capacity to feel pain and several told lawmakers that’s the case. They include Steven Calvin, perinatologist at the University of Minnesota; Robert J. White, professor of neurosurgery at Case Western University; and Paul Ranalli, neurologist at the University of Toronto.
Dr. Kanwaljeet Anand of the University of Arkansas Medical Center says he and other specialists in development of unborn children have shown that babies feel pain before birth as early as 20 weeks into the pregnancy.
Anand said other medical studies conclude that unborn babies are "very likely" to be "extremely sensitive to pain during the gestation of 20 to 30 weeks."
"This is based on multiple lines of evidence," Dr. Anand said. "Not just the lack of descending inhibitory fibers, but also the number of receptors in the skin, the level of expression of various chemicals, neurotransmitters, receptors, and things like that."
An April 2004 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.
TAKE ACTION: Contact your state Representative by going to https://www.azleg.state.az.us and urge strong support for HB 2254.