Louisiana Abortion Law on Ultrasounds and Baby's Pain Goes Into Effect

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
August 15, 2007

Baton Rouge, LA (LifeNews.com) -- Louisiana is the next state to have a law go into effect that tells a woman considering an abortion that her baby will feel considerable pain during the procedure. The measure also requires abortion businesses to give women the option of seeing an ultrasound of their unborn child beforehand. During the legislative session, Republican Rep. A.G. Crowe was the key sponsor of the bill, H.B. 25, that Democratic Gov. Kathleen Blanco eventually signed.
The law requires abortion practitioners to give women the information in a brochure beforehand and also tells them to offer the mother a chance to give the baby anesthesia. It applies to any abortions done after 20 weeks of pregnancy, where studies are conclusive that an abortion baby has the capacity to experience pain.
The measure also helps women by giving them a chance to see an ultrasound and learn of the development of their unborn child -- something abortion centers rarely make available.
"This enhanced informed consent bill gives women who face the desperate choice of abortion the option to view an ultrasound of their unborn child," pro-life attorney Dorinda Bordlee told LifeNews.com.
Bordlee, the director of the Bioethics Defense Fund, said the bill requires abortion practitioners to give women a statement saying, "by twenty weeks gestation, the unborn child has the physical structures necessary to experience pain."
She told LifeNews.com she encourages other states to pass similar legislation because "ultrasound and fetal pain information awakens the heroic maternal instinct by giving the mother a connection to the humanity of her child."
Used in pregnancy centers across the country, ultrasounds have proved effective in persuading women to keep the baby.
Bordlee has offered to help pro-life lawmakers and groups in other states pass these measures.

Sen. Brownback Reintroduces Fetal Pain Bill

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
January 23, 2007
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) -- A leading pro-life lawmaker has reintroduced legislation that would require abortion practitioners to tell women considering an abortion that their unborn child may experience significant pain during the procedure.

Sen. Sam Brownback, a Kansas Republican who is running for president, reintroduced the Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act, which requires the pain information be given to women contemplating an abortion 20 weeks after fertilization.

“It is a scientific, medical fact that unborn children feel pain,” Brownback said in a statement provided to LifeNews.com.

“We know that unborn children can experience pain based upon anatomical, functional, physiological and behavioral indicators that are correlated with pain in children and adults," Brownback added. "Mothers seeking an abortion have the right to know that their unborn children can feel pain.”

The bill also includes a provision allowing women to ask for anesthesia for the baby so she doesn't suffer any pain during an abortion.

The House of Representatives voted last month on a similar bill and approved it on a 250-162 vote. However, the measure was brought up under special rules requiring a two-thirds vote and, as a result, the bill was not sent to the Senate for its consideration.

With abortion advocates now in control of Congress bills like Brownback's may not get a hearing or a debate and vote.

Experts on the development of unborn children say that pain during an abortion is likely, especially during latter parts of pregnancy.

Dr. Jean Wright, Professor and Chair of Pediatrics at the Mercer School of Medicine, previously told Congress that premature infants born after 23 to 26 weeks of pregnancy feel intense pain when blood is drawn from them.

"We roll back the sheets or the blanket, and you would look to the facial expression, their response to the heel stick, and you would understand," she said. "You would not need a congressional hearing to figure out whether that infant feels pain."

Pro-life groups strongly support the legislation as looking out for the interests of unborn children and also helping to reduce the number of abortions by providing women another reason not to have one.

"We hope that women will have compassion on their child when they learn their baby will experience extreme pain and choose instead for their baby to feel the loving touch of an embrace," Concerned Women for America president Wendy Wright says of the bill.

President Bush has promised to sign the measure into law should Congress approve it.

House Holds Hearing on Fetal Pain

Amelia Wigton
November 4, 2005

The House Constitution Subcommittee held a hearing on November 1 to explore the legal, political and medical information regarding fetal pain and the constitutionality of laws that would require physicians to provide women, before they undergo an abortion, with information regarding the pain to the unborn.

Four experts from the fields of law and medicine testified at the hearing. Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) presided over the proceedings.
Two key pieces of legislation, each titled the Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act of 2005, specify that women who seek abortion must be notified  about the pain their unborn baby will experience.

S. 51, introduced in the Senate by Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kansas), was referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. It has 34 co-sponsors.  The House version of the bill (H.R. 356) has 127 co-sponsors, is in the House Committee on the Judiciary and was introduced by Rep. Christopher Smith (R-New Jersey).  

“CWA has been lobbying members of the Senate since the origination of this bill,” said Lanier Swann, director of government relations. “This significant legislation is among our top priorities. We will continue to follow its progress accordingly.”  
The proposed legislation would require physicians to tell women about the pain that their child will likely endure during the abortion and offer anesthesia for the baby.

Remarkable, common sense evidence demonstrates that newborns and pre-born children experience pain.  The Executive Director of the Children’s Hospital at the Memorial Health University Medical Center in Savannah, Georgia, Dr. Jean A. Wright testified at the hearing on her extensive professional experience with fetal and pediatric pain.  Dr. Wright noted that her work with premature infants aged  23 to 40 weeks shows that the small babies always respond to pain.

In addition,  extensive evidence says that the unborn have pain receptors early in their development.

According to Dr. Wright, “Studies at 16 weeks and beyond show hormonal responses to painful stimuli that exactly duplicate the responses that the infant and adult possess.”

She notes that, unlike infants and adults, “the unborn lacks the ability to modulate itself in response to this pain.”  This means that the unborn feel  pain more intensely because they have not developed the hormones necessary to regulate it.

This tragic discussion presents an obvious dilemma for pro-abortion advocates, because it assigns humanity to an unborn child.  Some abortion procedures involve dismemberment, the introduction of a salt solution into the womb or crushing of the skull followed by removal of the brain.

“Not only do unborn children feel pain, the evidence suggests they feel pain more acutely than at any other stage of life,” said Wendy Wright, CWA’s executive vice president. “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. 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.”

During surgery on premature or pre-born children, it is standard that mothers and their children receive anesthesia.  A Harvard Law Review article, titled “The Science, Law, and Politics of Fetal Pain Legislation,” points out: “Outside of the abortion context, it is clear that fetal pain matters to women and to physicians who perform surgical procedures involving fetuses.” The article goes on to say, “People act differently when abortion is involved.”

The hearing showed terrible inconsistencies within current law regarding the sanctity of human life.  According to testimony submitted from the National Right to Life Committee, because of strict humane slaughter laws in the livestock industry, animals who are slaughtered for food in America endure less pain than children who are aborted.  This tragic consequence is another sad chapter in America’s abortion history.

Even Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, stated that her organization will not oppose the legislation because “women deserve access to this relevant information.”

The issue of fetal pain from abortion must be discussed.  CWA applauds leaders on Capitol Hill who have boldly stepped up to stop further suffering of the unborn.