Rep. Chris Smith
(R-NJ) and Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) have introduced legislation in Congress
that would require an abortionist to provide documentation on the capacity of an
unborn child to feel pain to any woman seeking an abortion past the 20th
week. After receiving this information, the woman must either accept or refuse
the administration of pain-reducing drugs directly to the unborn child. The bill
also contains congressional "findings" regarding the scientific evidence that
unborn children experience great pain during abortions at 20 weeks (and perhaps
earlier), and cites a number of existing federal laws that seek to diminish the
suffering even of animals, such as restrictions on how livestock are
Nothing in the bill would deny that unborn
children may experience pain prior to 20 weeks after fertilization, but a
notable segment of the medical and scientific community agrees on the 20-week
benchmark for pain.
Interestingly, the leading pro-abortion group
“NARAL Pro-Choice America” said the following, through their President Nancy
Keenan: “Pro-choice Americans have always believed that women deserve access to
all the information relevant to their reproductive health decisions. For some
women, that includes information related to fetal anesthesia options. NARAL
Pro-Choice America does not intend to oppose this legislation.”
Good thinking. After all, what can appear more
heartless than opposing legislation to keep babies from feeling pain? And what
can be more damaging to the cause of abortion than to create a big fight over
the pain babies feel during abortion? It’s one of those lose-lose propositions
for the abortion camp. No matter what you say about it, just raising the issue
gives abortion a bad name.
Maybe that’s why abortionists themselves often
don’t allow themselves to think about it. Consider the following exchange that
took place in U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, between Judge
Richard Casey and abortionist Timothy Johnson. (Johnson was testifying in the
case National Abortion Federation, et. al. v. Ashcroft, which dealt with the ban
on partial-birth abortion. The date was March 31, 2004.):
If you are all finished let me just ask you a couple questions, Dr. Johnson. I
heard you talk a lot today about dismemberment D&E procedure, second trimester;
does the fetus feel pain?
WITNESS: I guess I --
There are studies, I m told, that says they do. Is that correct? …
WITNESS: I m aware of fetal behavioral studies that have looked at fetal
responses to noxious stimuli.
Does it ever cross your mind when you are doing a dismemberment?
WITNESS: I guess whenever I --
Simple question, Doctor. Does it cross your mind?
WITNESS: Does the fetus having pain cross your mind?
Never crossed your mind.
It’s time for us to make this issue cross the
mind of every American. Urge your Representatives and Senators to support the
Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act (H.R. 256, S. 51).