I wrote in my Jan. 27, 2010, column that if Nebraska’s fetal-pain bill were ever signed into law, it would create a world of hurt for pro-aborts, pardon the pun.
Such a law would be as difficult for the other side to defend from a PR standpoint as were the Partial Birth Abortion Bans.
Both pieces of legislation evoke vivid mental images of late-term preborn children being torn limb from limb.
But Nebraska’s Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which indeed became law yesterday, ups the ante.
It bans all abortions past 20 weeks based on studies that babies assuredly feel pain at that point, corroborated by emerging protocols requiring surgeons who operate on late-term preborn babies provide them pain relief.
Abortions hurt the baby.
Pro-aborts did not see the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act coming and are scrambling to rebut. According to the Associated Press yesterday, although the “bill is sure to be challenged in court,” no one is sure who will do the challenging. Neither Nebraska late-term abortionist LeRoy Carhart nor the Center for Reproductive Rights have determined whether they will participate. Pro-aborts are probably drawing for the short straw as I write.
Actually, our side didn’t see Nebraska’s fetal-pain act coming, either.
Ironically, it was prompted by the murder of late-term Kansas abortionist George Tiller.
In the aftermath, Nebraska late-term abortionist Leroy Carhart made several conflicting statements to the press indicating he aborted contrary to either the spirit or letter of Nebraska law that prohibits abortions when “the unborn child clearly appears to have reached viability, except when necessary to preserve the life or health of the mother.”
According to Newsweek, Aug. 15, 2009:
There are many circumstances that can bring a woman to seek a late-term abortion. But whether she is that suicidal rape victim or a well-heeled New Yorker who just discovered a fatal fetal defect, her options for ending the pregnancy are limited. Since Tiller’s death, there are fewer than 10 doctors across the country willing to help. LeRoy Carhart is one of them.
But late-term abortions for fetal anomalies are disallowed by Nebraska law; and that Carhart will abort a mother claiming she is suicidal demonstrates its “mental” health loophole.
Meanwhile, Carhart told Newsweek “he won’t, for example, do elective abortions past 24 weeks, because the fetus is likely viable.”
But according to the New York Times on Dec. 3, 2009:
Dr. Carhart has also begun performing some abortions “past 24 week,” he said in an interview, and is prepared to perform them still later if they meet legal requirements and if he considers them medically necessary. …
Dr. Carhart declined to provide specifics on how late in a pregnancy he would be willing to perform an abortion. … Dr. Carhart’s fee schedule lists prices for abortions up to 22 weeks and 6 days (at that point, $2,100 in cash or $2,163 on a credit card), but notes that abortions after 23 weeks are available “after consultation with our doctor,” and that abortions after the 27th week may take four days.
Carhart’s sloppy big mouth prompted pro-life Nebraska Speaker of the Legislature Mike Flood to ask Nebraska Right to Life to help craft a new law to constrict Carhart, since the current late-term abortion ban clearly wasn’t working.
That’s when Mary Spaulding Balch of National Right to Life conceived the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.
The Associated Press calls the law both “groundbreaking” and “landmark.”
It is both, attacking the Roe and Doe abortion decisions on two fronts: fetal viability and mental health. Nancy Northrup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights said “this would be like taking a huge hacksaw to [abortion] rights.”
At this point the other side’s primary argument is that the American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists “knows of no legitimate scientific information that supports the statement that a fetus experiences pain at 20 weeks’ gestation.”
That’s because ACOG is pro-abortion and automatically opposes any legislation limiting doctors’ rights. But ACOG did not testify at any of the fetal-pain committee hearings nor has it publicly released any data supporting its claim that fetal pain is merely a notion.
Nebraska Right to Life submitted nine studies finding late-term babies feel pain. The only study the other side has is not a study at all but a 2005 “review” of previous fetal pain studies, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association by abortion activists. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer:
But their seven-page article has a weakness: It does not mention that one author is an abortion-clinic director [Eleanor A. Drey], while the lead author – a medical student [Susan J. Lee, JD] – once worked for NARAL Pro-Choice America.
AMA Editor in Chief Catherine D. DeAngelis said she was unaware of those facts, and acknowledged it might create an appearance of bias that could hurt the journal’s credibility.
Just as the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court could not possibly have considered that someday abortionists would deliver a baby breech up the head, pierce her skull and suction her brains out, it had no way of knowing preborn babies can feel pain.
And just as with the Partial Birth Abortion Bans, pro-lifers will soon be asking the court to reconsider its previous decision based on additional new information.
Jessica Pieklo at Cure2.com wrote:
On some level you have to hand it to anti-choice activists. Their singular focus of preventing women from accessing reproductive health services illustrates a commitment to purpose that, frankly, progressives and even moderates seem unable to match. …
[T]he Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act may just be the biggest showing of legislative hubris yet.
Thanks for the compliment, Jessica. But The Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act is merely another of our responses to the biggest showing of judicial hubris ever, the Roe v. Wade decision.