USA Today Accused of Bias in Reporting on Abortion-Pain Legislation

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 8, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

USA Today Accused of Bias in Reporting on Abortion-Pain Legislation Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 8, 2006

Washington, DC ( — National newspaper USA Today has been accused of bias in reporting on the rise in the number of bills in state legislatures to inform women about the pain abortion causes unborn children. Such bills are a way of helping the unborn baby by providing anesthesia and helping women avoid abortions.

Leading experts on the issue of fetal pain say that it’s a definite fact that unborn children, especially in later stages of pregnancy, feel intense pain during an abortion.

However, USA Today only cited claims by pro-abortion Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle, who vetoed a fetal pain bill last month, that unborn children don’t feel pain.

The newspaper did not public any information from experts in the field who say fetal pain is conclusive or mention Congressional hearings validating the concept.

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 has 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."

During hearings on the Wisconsin bill, several experts in embryology testified in the state legislature that unborn children have the capacity to feel pain.

They included 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.

During Congressional hearings on the matter last November, Dr. Ranalli said the 20-30 week child in the womb may even feel more pain than an adult.

He adds that the "pain impulse connections in the spinal cord link up and reach the thalamus (the brain’s reception center): at 7-20 weeks."

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 USA Today and urge the newspaper to report both sides of the issue and include information in future articles about doctors who verify babies feel pain during abortions. You can contact USA Today at [email protected]