12 States Ask Federal Court to Uphold Ban on Late-Term Abortions, When Babies Feel Intense Pain

National   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Dec 1, 2017   |   6:53PM   |   Washington, DC

Attorneys general from 12 states urged a federal court this week to allow states to protect pain-capable unborn babies from abortion.

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson announced the brief Thursday in support of North Carolina, which prohibits abortions after 20 weeks when strong scientific evidence indicates unborn babies can feel pain.

The abortion chain Planned Parenthood is suing to overturn the law.

“The right to life is a gift from God and is first among the unalienable rights listed in the Declaration of Independence. Governments are created to protect those rights,” Wilson said. “Each state’s citizens should be free to pass laws to protect their unborn children.”

Wilson was joined by attorneys general from West Virginia, Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Texas. They filed the brief Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina.

“Since Roe was decided, scientific advances have made it clear that ‘a baby develops sensitivity to external stimuli and to pain much earlier than was then believed,’” they argued in the brief.

They continued:

“In Gonzales, the Supreme Court affirmed the federal government’s interest in promoting ‘respect for the dignity of human life’ by prohibiting a method of abortion which could ‘further coarsen society to the humanity of not only newborns, but all vulnerable and innocent human life.’ As our understanding of the early stages at which a fetus is capable of feeling pain deepens, it also becomes increasingly apparent that the interest in respect for human dignity must extend not only to particularly troubling abortion methods, but also to abortions after the point an unborn child experiences pain.”

The North Carolina law, which protects unborn babies from abortions after 20 weeks, has been in effect for several decades, but state lawmakers amended the law in 2015 to define “emergency” situations when abortions are allowed after 20 weeks.

Planned Parenthood argues that the new definitions are too narrow and restrict their rights.

The U.S. is one of just a handful of countries that allows abortion on demand through all nine months of pregnancy, and abortion activists are desperately trying to keep it that way. Despite what abortion activists claim, the laws that prohibit later-term abortions are backed by strong scientific evidence and concerns about the well-being of women and children.