Research shows unborn babies can feel excruciating pain at 20 weeks
(National Right to Life) Legislation to end the “excruciating suffering and physical pain of unborn babies” from abortion at 20 weeks or older was introduced Monday by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) and 142 Members of the House of Representatives.
The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act would bar most abortions after 20 weeks gestation.
“We know that by twenty weeks unborn babies killed by abortion experience excruciating suffering and physical pain” said Smith, co-chair of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus. “The dismemberment abortion—the most common abortion method used during the second trimester—involves cutting and dismembering the child’s fragile body including severing his or her arms and legs. Until rendered unconscious or dead, the baby feels every cut.”
Smith said, “this unconscionable human rights abuse must stop. Pain, we all dread it. We avoid it. We even fear it. And we all go to extraordinary lengths to mitigate its severity and its duration for ourselves. Yet every day, a whole segment of human beings is being subjected to painful—and deadly—procedures.”
According to Smith, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act recognizes the medical evidence that unborn children feel pain.
“We are not living in uninformed times,” Smith said. He pointed to leading experts in the field of fetal pain, including Dr. Anand, at the University of Tennessee stated in his expert report, commissioned by the U.S. Department of Justice:
It is my opinion that the human fetus possesses the ability to experience pain from 20 weeks of gestation, if not earlier, and the pain perceived by a fetus is possibly more intense than that perceived by term newborns or older children.
Dr. Colleen Malloy, assistant professor, Division of Neonatology at the Northwestern University, in her testimony before the House Judiciary Committee in May of 2012 said:
When we speak of infants at 20 weeks postfertilization we no longer have to rely on inferences or ultrasound imagery, because such premature patients are kicking, moving and reacting and developing right before our eyes in the neonatal intensive care unit.
In other words, there are children the same age who, in utero, can be painfully killed by abortion who have been born and are now being given lifesaving assistance.
She went on to say:
In today’s medical arena, we resuscitate patients at this age and are able to witness their ex-utero growth.
Dr. Malloy concludes:
I could never imagine subjecting my tiny patients to horrific procedures such as those that involve limb detachment or cardiac injection.
Smith also noted the story of Micah Pickering, who was born alive at 20 weeks—the same age as babies who would be protected by the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. Micah was the size of a dollar bill when he was born and today, he is a healthy, thriving elementary school boy. (The 22-week-old children referred to in the NY Times article are the same age as the 20-week children that would be protected by the bill. The only difference is the method used to calculate age.)
Smith noted, “As fetal surgeons seek to heal, they routinely administer anesthesia to children in the womb to protect them from pain. The unborn child is a patient, and there are many anomalies, many sicknesses that can be treated with a degree of success while she or he is still in utero. When those interventions are performed, anesthesia is given.
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“A TIME Magazine cover story, Saving Preemies, explored the preemie revolution and how medicine and dedicated caregivers are helping the tiniest babies to survive and thrive.
“TIME says, ‘Thanks to advances that had not been made even a few years ago, the odds of surviving and thriving are improving all the time.’
“Abortionists on the other hand are in the business of ensuring that children neither survive nor thrive. Children, including children with disabilities, deserve better treatment than pain-filled dismemberment,” he said.
Editor's note: This article was published by National Right to Life News and is reprinted with permission.