Utah Senate Panel Approves Fetal Pain Bill Informing Women Before Abortion
by Steven Ertelt
February 24, 2009
Salt Lake City, UT (LifeNews.com) — A Utah state Senate committee has approved a fetal pain bill that requires abortion practitioners to tell women about the pain their baby will feel during an abortion. The measure is another effort to help reduce abortions until the day comes that unborn children are protected under law.
The panel approved the bill 3-2 and now it heads to the full Senate for a debate and vote.
Rep. Carl Wimmer, a Republican, is behind the fetal pain measure, which also gives women considering an abortion a chance to offer the baby anesthesia.
The measure would apply to any abortions done beyond 20 weeks of pregnancy.
Wimmer hopes the bill will educate women about the humanity of their unborn child and prompt them to choose abortion alternatives.
He says abortion advocates who deny unborn children don’t feel pain during an abortion are resorting to an antiquated view.
"The idea that a fetus at 20 weeks doesn’t feel pain is embarrassing, laughable and absurd," he said, calling it similar to the idea that slaves or newborn children don’t feel pain either.
The House previously approved HB 222 on a 56-15 vote.
The bill does not require women to allow for the anesthesia but gives them 24 hours to reflect on the information given to them about fetal pain.
Though pro-abortion opponents of the bill say unborn children have no capacity to feel pain, experts say it’s a certainty.
Dr. Kanwaljeet Anand of the University of Arkansas Medical Center has said 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 said many 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."
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, commissioned by the National Right to Life Committee.
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