by Steven Ertelt
January 1, 2008
Sacramento, CA (LifeNews.com) — The California legislature is expected to hold a hearing next week on a measure that would address the pain babies experience during an abortion. Backers of the bill hope it will both educate the public on the destruction of human life during an abortion and help change the minds of women contemplating one.
Assemblyman John Benoit, a Republican from Riverside, introduced AB 1009 last year.
The measure requires abortion practitioners to provide women considering an abortion with information about fetal pain and the ability to choose anesthesia for the unborn child if they ultimately have an abortion.
Benoit pulled the bill from a hearing several months ago, according to Penny Harrington, the legislative director for Concerned Women for America of California, and it subsequently became a two-year bill.
The Assembly Health Committee has scheduled a hearing on the measure for January 8 and pro-life groups in the Golden State are rallying support for it.
Harrington says the measure will be dead if it doesn’t pass out of committee and through the Assembly floor by the end of January.
"Abortion supporters will be out in force opposing AB 1009, as they continually seek to deny the personhood of the unborn," she said.
The measure also enjoys the support of Bob Cielnicky of the Life Priority Network, who told LifeNews.com that the measure "exposes the barbaric nature of abortion in an upsetting way."
"The bill is educational to both legislator and layman. It tears at public conscience. It won’t let the issue of abortion go away," he said.
Pro-life groups have been promoting fetal pain bills as a way to educate and reduce abortions ever since researchers first revealed that unborn children can experience significant pain during the procedure.
Dr. Kanwaljeet Anand of the University of Arkansas Medical Center is one of the leading researchers on fetal pain and he told the KTHV television in an interview last year that he has no doubt that babies have the capacity to feel intense pain by the second trimester.
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.”
Dr. Anand told the television station that causing an unborn child pain could have adverse long-term ramifications.
"Some fetuses that are chronically exposed to very toxic environments will be stressed simply from the fact that they are in these very loud, very difficult environments," he said.
"There’s also this issue of abuse. Abuse of a spouse pretty clearly during pregnancy and that will have an impact on the brain of this fetus is developing and what is going to be this child’s behavior," he added.
A British study conducted in April confirms Anand’s explanation about fetal pain.
Published in the Journal of Neuroscience by a team from University College London, the study analyzed brain scans taken on premature babies when blood was being drawn from them. The results found that babies as young as 24 weeks after pregnancy can feel pain and the researchers hope the study will prompt new pain treatment methods.
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."
"This is based on multiple lines of evidence," Dr. Anand 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."
Anand explained that later-term abortion procedures, such as a partial-birth abortion "would be likely to cause severe pain."