Virginia Bill Would Ban Late-Term Abortions After 20 Week on Babies Who Feel Intense Pain

State   |   Erin Parfet   |   Dec 19, 2016   |   4:46PM   |   Richmond, Virginia

Virginia legislators will consider a bill in January to ban abortions after 20 weeks, CBS19 News of Charlottesville reports.

If passed, the bill known as the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act would prohibit abortions on unborn babies after 20 weeks when strong scientific evidence indicates that they can feel pain. The bill includes class 4 felony charges for those violating the law, and “civil remedies” for doctors performing the abortions, according to CBS.

“This legislation not only protects unborn babies from excruciating late abortions but helps to educate the public at large about the humanity of the unborn child. VSHL is hopeful that this year will bring us one step closer to seeing this bill become law here in the Commonwealth,” Olivia Gans Turner, president of the Virginia Society for Human Life said in a news release.

The pro-life group is urging Virginians to contact their state legislators and ask them to support the bill.

Fifteen other states have passed similar legislation, Ohio being the most recent. The Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act bans abortion after 20 weeks, with exceptions for significant health risks to the mother, based on evidence that unborn babies can feel pain by 20 weeks.

Paula Sutcliffe, a former abortion facility worker, recalled one case: “…I saw the pain of the babies who were born burned from the saline solution used for late-term abortions. I saw the bits of feet, bits of hands, the mangled heads and bodies of the little people. I saw pain and felt pain.”

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The intense pain and suffering of an unborn child during an abortion likely is not limited to late-term abortions.

“The development of the perception of pain begins at the 6th week of life. By 20 weeks, and perhaps even earlier, all the essential components of anatomy, physiology, and neurobiology exist to transmit painful sensations from the skin to the spinal cord and to the brain,” Dr. Jean Wright, an anesthesiologist specializing in pediatric critical care medicine at Memorial Health Medical Center in Savannah, Georgia told Congress in Washington, D.C.

Wright continued: “Infants in the neonatal intensive care unit give us a clear picture into life in the womb for the unborn fetus age 23–40 week gestation. Our understanding of the presence of pain, and the need to clinically treat this pain in the premature infant leads us to understand the presence of pain, and the need to treat pain in the unborn fetus of the same gestational age.

“Our conscience as clinicians requires us to apply the same standards of informed consent that we would to any other patient in a same or similar situation. We no longer can ignore the fact that maternal anesthesia treats the mother’s pain perception during these procedures, but leaves the unborn with no pain protection. Our knowledge of this field has changed our clinical practice and now the legislative issues must change as well.”

Dr. Paul Ranalli, a neurologist at the University of Toronto, concurs.

“At 20 weeks, the fetal brain has the full complement of brain cells present in adulthood, ready and waiting to receive pain signals from the body, and their electrical activity can be recorded by standard electroencephalography (EEG),” Ranalli said.

In 2013, the Centers for Disease Control reported 5,770 abortions at or after 21 weeks in the U.S., while there were 8,150 abortions between 18 and 20 weeks. In Virginia specifically, 106 unborn babies were aborted in the same gestational periods, according to the CDC.

The number of late-term abortions nationally likely are much higher, because not all states report their abortion data to the CDC.

While the bill does not completely outlaw abortion, it is a small step in the right direction toward minimizing the crimes on humanity inflicted by Roe v. Wade and liberal policies of the current administration.

ACTION ALERT: Virginia Society for Human Life encourages people to call or email their legislators to support the bill. Click here to contact them.