Legislation / Court Cases

Abortion Ban Trials Serve as Impetus for Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act (5/04)

Responding to shocking testimony being given in court cases challenging the Partial Birth Abortion Ban, Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan) & Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) are sponsoring the Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act.

The bill would require that before obtaining an abortion 20 or more weeks into a pregnancy, doctors must inform the mothers that the unborn baby will likely experience pain and the doctor must provide the mother with a pamphlet giving her information on fetal pain research.

The bill would also require that doctors give mothers the option of providing their unborn babies with anesthetic prior to the abortion.

During testimony in a New York court case challenging the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act, abortionist Dr. Marilynn Fredriksen avoided answering whether or not she informs her clients that the unborn baby will feel pain by replying tartly, “I have never talked to a fetus about whether or not they experience pain.”

In that same trial Dr. Timothy Johnson was asked if the question of fetal pain ever “crosses your mind” during an abortion. He answered no, eliciting an incredulous response from New York District Court Judge Casey.

At a May 20 press conference Brownback said it was the “callous and indifferent” testimony of doctors like Fredriksen and Johnson that convinced him the Child Pain bill was needed.

Smith agreed: “Now the testimony is overwhelming. These children suffer, and they suffer badly.”

In expert testimony provided to the Northern District of the US District Court in CA [15Apr] Dr. Sunny Anand [Dir, Pain Neurobiology Lab, Arkansas Children’s Hospital Research]: “The highest density of pain receptors per square inch of skin in human development occurs in utero from 20 to 30 weeks gestation. During this period, the epidermis is still very thin, leaving nerve fibers closer to the surface of the skin than in older neonates and adult…Thus, a fetus at 20-32 weeks of gestation would experience a much more intense pain than older infants or children or adults…”

Smith observed that other sentient creatures are given the protection of the government from excessive pain. “Congress requires pain to be minimized when livestock are slaughtered, and has numerous provisions to prevent pain to laboratory animals, but nothing for unborn human beings,” he said.

Several organizations immediately endorsed the bill: Southern Baptist Convention, the National Right to Life Committee and the Family Research Council. There are already 28 co-sponsors to the house version and 24 senators, almost a quarter of the Senate, are co-sponsors. [CULTURE & COSMOS, 18May04 Volume 1, Number 42, Culture of Life Fdn (202) 289-2500      http://www.culture-of-life.org]

If you must err, err on the side of life…