Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker today signed into law a pro-life bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. States do not have the ability under Roe v. Wade to ban all abortions, so pro-life groups are using a 20-week ban as a test case to get the Supreme Court to roll back the Roe decision that allowed unlimited abortions even further.
“At five months an unborn child can feel pain,” Walker said before signing the bill. “As a society we should be protecting that child.”
Wisconsin becomes the 15th state to ban abortions at 20 weeks — which is just a couple weeks before unborn babies are viable and can survive outside the womb. Under the law, an abortion practitioner who kills an unborn baby in an abortion after 20 weeks faces three years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
In Congress, the House has already approved a 20-week ban and the Senate is expected to vote on the ban this Fall.
Earlier this year, Walker called on the Wisconsin legislature to send him the 20-week abortion ban, that stops abortions when science has proven unborn babies feel intense pain.
“As the Wisconsin legislature moves forward in the coming session, further protections for mother and child are likely to come to my desk in the form of a bill to prohibit abortions after 20 weeks. I will sign that bill when it gets to my desk and support similar legislation on the federal level. I was raised to believe in the sanctity of life and I will always fight to protect it.”
The position was not a new one as Walker co-sponsored legislation in 1998 while he was a member of the Wisconsin state legislature to ban abortions after 20 weeks.
Life is a value I learned from my parents, and it’s a value I have cherished every day, predating my time in politics. My policies throughout my career have earned a 100% rating with pro-life groups in Wisconsin. Just in my first term I signed numerous pieces of pro-life legislation and I will continue working for every life.
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In my past four years as governor, we have made substantial progress in the fight for our pro-life values in Wisconsin. We defunded Planned Parenthood. We prohibited abortion from being covered by health plans in a health exchange. We passed legislation assuring the women and their unborn child are better protected under law – through placing stringent requirements on medical professionals and requiring the provision of thorough and vital information to the mother.
I was raised to believe in the sanctity of life and I will always fight to protect it.
In 2013, Gov. Walker signed an ultrasound bill (Senate Bill 206, also known as Sonya’s Law) that ensures that women seeking abortions are given the opportunity to see their unborn children through ultrasound. The legislation also requires abortionists to have admitting privileges within thirty miles of their facility. This is the kind of pro-woman, pro-life bill that not only has proven to save the lives of unborn babies, but it has closed down abortion clinics that can’t comply with basic health and safety requirements. Sure enough, abortion centers in Wisconsin closed down after Walker signed the bill into law.
In an ad during his re-election campaign, Walker put forward a clear cut pro-life message showing compassion for women and unborn children: “I’m pro-life. But there’s no doubt in my mind the decision of whether or not to end a pregnancy is an agonizing one. That’s why I support legislation to increase safety and to provide more information for a woman considering her options.”
Walker has been a tireless advocate for women and unborn children, and when the bill passed, Wisconsin Right to Life applauded his efforts to protect citizens in their state.
The former legislative director of Wisconsin Right to Life, Susan Armacost, said “We thank Governor Walker for signing this important piece of legislation into law. Sonya’s Law will empower women to make truly informed decisions regarding how they will proceed with their pregnancies and will protect the lives of women who experience complications after their abortions.”
When Congress held a hearing on the 20-week abortion ban,
former abortion practitioner Anthony Levatino told members of the committee the gruesome details of his former abortion practice and how he became pro-life following the tragic automobile accident of his child.
Another bombshell dropped during the hearing came from Dr. Maureen Condic, who is Associate Professor of Neurobiology and Adjunct Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Utah School of Medicine. She testified that the unborn child is capable of reacting to pain as early as 8-10 weeks. This is when most abortions in America take place.
Americans strongly support legislation that would ban late-term abortions and protect babies who are capable of feeling intense pain during an abortion.
The vast majority of Americans are still very uncomfortable with abortion, according to a January Marist University poll. The survey finds support for abortion restrictions among both “pro-life” and “pro-choice” supporters. Despite the strong support, President Barack Obama has threatened to veto the pro-life bill.
According to the national survey, 84% of Americans want significant restrictions on abortion, and would limit abortions to, at most, the first three months of pregnancy. This includes almost 7 in 10 (69 percent) who identify themselves as “pro-choice” who support such abortion limits and oppose late-term abortions.
The same percentage (84 percent) also says that laws can protect both the well-being of a woman and the life of the unborn. In addition, by more than 20 points (60 percent to 38 percent), Americans say abortion is morally wrong.
Other national polls also show strong support nationwide for the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act and stopping late-term abortions.
A poll conducted for the liberal Huffington Post find Americans support the ban on late-term abortions starting at 20-weeks of pregnancy by almost a 2-1 margin.
A national poll by The Polling Company found that, after being informed that there is scientific evidence that unborn children are capable of feeling pain at least by 20 weeks, 64% would support a law banning abortion after 20 weeks, unless the mother’s life was in danger. Only 30% said they would oppose such a law.
A November 2014 poll from Quinnipiac found that 60 percent of Americans support legislation limiting abortions after 20 weeks, including 56 percent of Independents and 46 percent of Democrats.
The bill relies on the science of fetal pain to establish a Constitutional reason for Congress to ban abortions late in pregnancy. The science behind the concept of fetal pain is fully established and Dr. Steven Zielinski, an internal medicine physician from Oregon, is one of the leading researchers into it. He first published reports in the 1980s to validate research showing evidence for it.
He has testified before Congress that an unborn child could feel pain at “eight-and-a-half weeks and possibly earlier” and that a baby before birth “under the right circumstances, is capable of crying.”
He and his colleagues Dr. Vincent J. Collins and Thomas J. Marzen were the top researchers to point to fetal pain decades ago. Collins, before his death, was Professor of Anesthesiology at Northwestern University and the University of Illinois and author of Principles of Anesthesiology, one of the leading medical texts on the control of pain.
“The functioning neurological structures necessary to suffer pain are developed early in a child’s development in the womb,” they wrote.
“Functioning neurological structures necessary for pain sensation are in place as early as 8 weeks, but certainly by 13 1/2 weeks of gestation. Sensory nerves, including nociceptors, reach the skin of the fetus before the 9th week of gestation. The first detectable brain activity occurs in the thalamus between the 8th and 10th weeks. The movement of electrical impulses through the neural fibers and spinal column takes place between 8 and 9 weeks gestation. By 13 1/2 weeks, the entire sensory nervous system functions as a whole in all parts of the body,” they continued.
With Zielinski and his colleagues the first to provide the scientific basis for the concept of fetal pain, Dr. Kanwaljeet Anand has provided further research to substantiate their work.
One leading expert in the field of fetal pain, Dr. Kanwaljeet S. Anand at the University of Tennessee, stated in his expert report commissioned by the U.S. Department of Justice, “It is my opinion that the human fetus possesses the ability to experience pain from 20 weeks of gestation, if not earlier, and the pain perceived by a fetus is possibly more intense than that perceived by term newborns or older children.”
“The neural pathways are present for pain to be experienced quite early by unborn babies,” explains Steven Calvin, M.D., perinatologist, chair of the Program in Human Rights Medicine, University of Minnesota, where he teaches obstetrics.
Dr. Colleen A. Malloy, Assistant Professor, Division of Neonatology at Northwestern University in her testimony before the House Judiciary Committee in May 2012 said, “[w]hen we speak of infants at 22 weeks LMP [Note: this is 20 weeks post fertilization], for example, we no longer have to rely solely on inferences or ultrasound imagery, because such premature patients are kicking, moving, reacting, and developing right before our eyes in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.”
“In today’s medical arena, we resuscitate patients at this age and are able to witness their ex-utero growth and development. Medical advancement and technology have enabled us to improve our ability to care for these infants…In fact, standard of care for neonatal intensive care units requires attention to and treatment of neonatal pain,” Dr. Malloy testified. She continued, “[t]hus, the difference between fetal and neonatal pain is simply the locale in which the pain occurs. The receiver’s experience of the pain is the same. I could never imagine subjecting my tiny patients to horrific procedures such as those that involve limb detachment or cardiac injection.”