by Steven Ertelt
October 9, 2006
Salt Lake City, UT (LifeNews.com) — A Utah lawmaker has abandoned plans to bring back a bill to require abortion practitioners to tell women about the pain their unborn child might have during an abortion. The bill also required letting the woman considering the abortion have anesthesia administered to the baby before the abortion began.
Rep. Paul Ray, a Republican, told the Associated Press he worried that his measure would have legal problems.
“We’re concerned that there could be a couple of constitutional issues there,” he told the Associated Press. “I just don’t think it’s prudent at this point.”
The Utah state House approved the measure on a 63-8 vote during the last legislative session but it was held up in the state Senate when abortion advocates claimed there was not enough research showing babies felt pain during abortions.
Abortion practitioners also indicated they didn’t know how to administer the anesthesia to the baby before doing the abortion.
But, a leading specialist and researcher into medical issues dealing with unborn children says he has no doubt that babies have the capacity to feel intense pain by the second trimester. In the third trimester of pregnancy, he says the internal systems for feeling pain are completely developed.
Dr. Kanwaljeet Anand of the University of Arkansas Medical Center told KTHV television in an interview that "pain perception certainly does not develop in the first trimester" for unborn children.
However, Anand confirmed that the baby’s ability to feel pain before birth "will develop sometime during the second trimester and by the third trimester the pain system is completely functional.”
Karrie Galloway, executive director of Planned Parenthood of Utah, told AP she was happy that Ray is not bringing back the pro-life bill.
"I’m glad he’s finally acknowledged that there may be some constitutional or actual medical and scientific problems with that bill, that’s great to hear," she said.
However, Galloway is unhappy that Ray is putting forward a measure that would have the state of Utah ban abortions once the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision is overturned.
"I just think this other bill that I’m working on is probably the better piece of legislation, to be quite honest with you,” Ray told AP.
He said wants to approve the abortion ban because he doesn’t want the state to have to wait for months before banning abortions if the high court reverses itself. Ray thinks that a new state ban on abortions that the South Dakota state legislature approved will eventually reach the high court.
The law would be similar to that of a handful of other states that have approved such measures hoping the Supreme Court will overturn its 1973 decision allowing virtually unlimited abortions.
Utah approved an abortion ban in the early 1990s that prohibited abortions in most circumstances. The ban was overturned in a lower court and the Supreme Court did not take the case.
According to a June 2005 report from the Life Legal Defense Fund, a pro-life law firm, Utah would have legalized abortion if Roe is overturned.
Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana and South Dakota also have trigger laws on abortion.
The Utah legislature goes back in session in January for 45 days.
There were 3,665 abortions in Utah in the most recent year for which statistics are available and more than 250 women from other states had abortions there, including Wyoming where there is only one abortion center.