by Steven Ertelt
June 14, 2006
Baton Rouge, LA (LifeNews.com) — A Louisiana state Senate committee has approved legislation requiring abortion facilities to tell women considering an abortion later in pregnancy that it will likely cause severe pain for the baby. The measure now heads to the full state Senate for debate and a vote.
The legislation also allows women considering an abortion to ask the abortion practitioner to provide the baby with anesthesia before the abortion to lessen the pain.
The committee approved it on a 3-2 vote and Senators Sherry Cheek, a Republican, and Diana Bajoie, a Democrat voted against the bill. Sens. Nick Gautreaux and Joe McPherson, both Democrats, and Tom Schedler, a Republican, backed it.
Representative A.G. Crowe is the main sponsor of the bill, HB 1382, and he hopes it will also have the effect of persuading some women to reconsider their decision to have an abortion.
Representatives of Planned Parenthood of Louisiana and the ACLU appeared during the committee hearing to oppose the legislation. J. Michael Malec, an ACLU lobbyist, claimed there is no scientific proof that babies can experience pain during an abortion.
The bill is based on expert findings that babies feel intense pain during the abortion.
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 has 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."
Malec claimed the measure would be an intrusion into the doctor-patient relationship. "To tell doctors what to tell their patients is not reasonable, and it’s not the function of the Legislature," he said, according to an AP report.
But, during the House hearing previously, Dorinda Bordlee, a New Orleans-based pro-life attorney cited Supreme Court rulings saying the law was allowable because "You, as the Legislature, have the right to encourage childbirth over abortion."
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.
Related web sites:
Louisiana state legislature – https://www.legis.state.la.us