US Congressional Committee Examines Fetal Pain Legislation

By Terry Vanderheyden

WASHINGTON, November 4, 2005 ( – A US House Constitution Subcommittee held a hearing Tuesday to examine information related to fetal pain, and the prospect of introducing legislation to mandate that abortionists inform women of the pain abortion causes to the unborn child during an abortion.

Legislation introduced concurrently in the House by Rep. Christopher Smith (R-New Jersey) and in the Senate by Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kansas), both titled the Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act of 2005, seeks to mandate that women be notified that an abortion causes pain to her unborn child.

House Committee chairman Steve Chabot of Ohio said, “The American medical community is really behind the times on the research in this area, and in large part it’s because the political debate has so dominated science.” Abortion proponents charge that the legislation is an attempt by lawmakers to restrict abortion through a back-door approach. Chabot admitted that it is. “Until we can get a Supreme Court that is willing to look at this issue and reverse Roe v Wade, there are other things that we can do to help protect unborn, innocent life in this country and this bill is one of those things.”

The Committee heard evidence form several experts in the field, including the head of the Memorial Health University Medical Center Children’s Hospital in Savannah, Georgia, Dr. Jean Wright, who said that in her work with infants aged 23 to 40 weeks that they always react to pain. “Studies at 16 weeks and beyond show hormonal responses to painful stimuli that exactly duplicate the responses that the infant and adult possess,” she said.

Dr. Wright added that, unlike young children or adults, “The unborn lacks the ability to modulate itself in response to this pain.” In other words, the unborn actually experiences pain more intensely because of an inability to regulate it.

Concerned Women for America’s (CWA) executive vice president Wendy Wright commended the US Congress for recognizing scientific evidence that confirms that unborn babies experience intense pain when aborted. “Not only do unborn children feel pain, the evidence suggests they feel pain more acutely than at any other stage of life,” she said. “The Constitution forbids cruel and unusual punishment for the guilty; we should not have a lesser standard for the innocent.”

“Each woman considering an abortion has the right to know the excruciating pain her innocent unborn baby will experience,” Wright added. “In order to make an informed decision on whether to undergo an abortion, mothers should be aware that the 20-week-or-older baby they are carrying will feel agonizing pain.”

According to a report from Family News in Focus, in prior hearings on the subject, testimony from a Planned Parenthood abortuary in San Diego found that virtually all women who were offered information on fetal pain decided to either forgo their abortion or accept an anaesthetic.

See related coverage:
  Judge asks Abortionist if Dismembering a Live Baby During Partial-Birth Abortion Causes it Pain

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