When Nebraska state legislators approved the fetal pain bill prohibiting abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, they made it so the late-term abortion practitioner in the state had to look elsewhere.
The genius behind the legislation was the thinking that it would be challenged in court and the pro-life movement could win a favorable decision from the high court on the heels of the ruling upholding the national partial-birth abortion ban.
Mary Balch, the state legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee, said at the time that she hoped it would cause a national discussion on the pain unborn children feel because it draws attention to their humanity and need for legal protection.
Also, she hoped the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act could see the same group of five members of the Supreme Court who backed the partial-birth abortion ban uphold it as constitutional and allow more abortions to be prohibited.
But, with the news that the late-term abortion practitioner LeRoy Carhart is possibly relocating to another state and him saying the fetal pain bill is responsible, Balch says the further genius of the bill is seen.
“This announcement illustrates the importance of having states pass protective laws such as the one passed in Nebraska,” she told LifeNews.com this afternoon. “Now is the time for Right to Lifers to capitalize on the dramatic pro-life gains in state legislative and gubernatorial elections last week and to make it illegal to kill unborn children who are capable of feeling pain.”
“As a result of last week’s elections, the number of states where pro-life legislation stands a realistic chance of enactment has substantially increased,” the pro-life attorney added.
Balch said the other fact that is on the side of the pro-life movement is the fact that research clearly substantiates the concept of fetal pain.
“At twenty weeks into pregnancy, unborn children have pain receptors throughout their bodies connected by nerves to the brain’s thalamus, they recoil from painful stimuli, their stress hormones shoot up, and they are routinely anesthetized when undergoing fetal surgery,” Balch explained. “While we expect substantial resistance from abortion advocates, we believe most Americans agree in rejecting abortions that cause excruciating pain, and look forward to protective laws being given serious consideration in a significant number of states.”
To the end of pursuing pro-life state legislation, the National Right to Life Committee will be hosting a State Legislative Strategy Conference for state right-to-life leaders and key state legislators in Washington. [related]
Great attention will be given to a model bill based on Nebraska’s Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which prevents abortions after 20 weeks from fertilization, when substantial medical evidence indicates unborn children feel pain.