by Steven Ertelt
March 1, 2007
Frankfort, KY (LifeNews.com) — A Kentucky Senate committee has approved another abortion bill this session and this one would require abortion practitioners to tell women contemplating an abortion of the pain her baby would feel during it. The bill offers the mother a chance to give the baby anesthesia and pro-life lawmakers hope it reduces abortions.
Sen. Jack Westwood, a Republican, is the prime sponsor of the bill and the Senate Judiciary Committee approved it on a lopsided vote Wednesday.
Under the bill, the state would provide information for women telling them that, by 20 weeks into the pregnancy, the "unborn child has the physical structures necessary to experience pain."
The information says the unborn baby will try to evade certain stimuli" in a way that "would be interpreted to be a response to pain."
That’s the kind of information women don’t normally receive when they go to an abortion business and Westwood hopes it convinces women considering a later-term abortion not to go through with it.
"That’s information that I think women ought to know," Westwood told the committee, according to an AP story.
The measure now heads to the full Senate for a vote and Gov. Ernie Fletcher says he strongly supports it.
"Throughout my career I’ve been consistently pro-life," Fletcher said in a statement. "Any measures we can take to protect the unborn should be taken."
The bill has its opponents and Sen. Gerald Neal, a Democrat from Louisville, said he reviewed information a doctor gave him and concluded that an unborn child does not feel pain at that point in pregnancy.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky also opposes the bill and Amanda Kreps-Long told AP her group says there’s "inconclusive scientific evidence about fetuses feeling pain."
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. nat2316.html
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.”
The Senate previously passed a bill sponsored by Sen. Katie Stine that would strengthen Kentucky’s informed consent law to make sure women get information about abortion’s risks and alternatives in person rather than over the phone.
The bill was sent to the House Health and Welfare Committee where its chairman, Rep. Tom Burch, has refused to hold a hearing on it. state2135.html
Margie Montgomery, the executive director of Kentucky Right to Life, told the newspaper the bill was her group’s "top priority" and she added, "There’s no good excuse for not bringing it up for a hearing and a vote."