by Steven Ertelt
May 8, 2007
Baton Rouge, LA (LifeNews.com) — The Louisiana state House has approved a two-pronged bill that lawmakers hope will help to further reduce the number of abortions there. The measure requires abortion practitioners to tell women contemplating an abortion that it may cause severe pain for the baby.
The bill also gives women the option of seeing an ultrasound of the unborn child before the abortion — something that changes the mind of most women at crisis pregnancy centers.
Rep. A.G. Crowe is the legislator behind the bill, HB 25, and his measure received a 82-15 vote over objections from abortion advocates who claimed there wasn’t enough research to validate the conclusions about fetal pain.
Under the bill, women considering an abortion would be notified 24 hours ahead of the abortion about the baby’s likely abortion pain after 20 weeks of pregnancy. They would also be informed about pain control drugs to "alleviate or eliminate organic pain to the unborn child that could be caused by the method of abortion to be employed."
The legislation heads now to the state Senate, which failed to approve the bill last year.
A similar version passed through the House and received the support of a Senate committee but did not get a vote on the Senate floor.
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."
He also 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.”
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.
Last June, Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco, a Democrat, signed into law on Saturday a new statewide ban on abortions. The law prohibits all abortions except those necessary to save the mother’s life and would not take effect until the Supreme Court overturns its decision in Roe v. Wade allowing virtually all abortions.
The measure would also become effective if a federal constitutional amendment is adopted that allows states to ban abortions.