75 Days of Life: No Unborn Pain No Gain?
Today Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC) is scheduled to introduce the Senate version of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would protect most babies beginning at 20 weeks, or more than halfway through pregnancy. This is on the heels of about thirteen states already passing similar legislation (most recently Texas) and a number of states introducing legislation to do the same or similar. According to the Charlotte Lozier Institute this trend is part of a larger one:
In total, 24 states have adopted a variety of gestational age limits on abortion (Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, and Virginia). The statutory age limits vary from the onset of fetal heartbeat (which can be detected as early as six weeks), to the most common limits based on research that shows the fetus is capable of sensing pain as early as 20 weeks, up to the third trimester of pregnancy (typically 28 weeks).
With the current makeup of Congress (a prolife, though tempered, majority in the House of Representatives and pro-abortion majorities in the Senate as well as the White House) it has been described as futile to “waste energy” by trying to pass pro-life legislation. However in this very environment pro-life forces have seen two noticeable victories:
- The halting of taxpayer funding of abortion in the District of Columbia, and
- The codification of a pro-life provision that bans patenting of humans.
Additionally a debate at the national level, even an unsuccessful one, can influence action on the state level, where pro-life majorities are more the norm. In spring of 2011 the Republican Leadership in Congress pushed hard for defunding of abortion giant Planned Parenthood. While this ultimately failed at the federal level it was noticed by the states. At least ten states have passed legislation to defund Planned Parenthood at various levels and at least 57 Planned Parenthood facilities have closed since January 2012.
If you are one of those who follow polling a Gallup Poll from January of 2013 found that only 27 percent of those polled believe second trimester abortions should be legal and further still only 14 percent believe third-trimester abortions should be allowed. According to The Polling Company’s nationwide poll in March 2013, 64 percent of Americans believe abortions should not be allowed if the baby can feel pain. Women also are supportive of later term bans. In fact, four major polls conducted in August of 2013 showed women are actually more supportive of the law than men. A Quinnipiac poll shows 60 percent of women prefer allowing unrestricted abortions for only the first 20 weeks of pregnancy rather than the Supreme Court-prescribed 24 weeks. Among men, 50 percent support the 20-week law — a 10-point gap. A Washington Post-ABC News poll showed the gap at seven points, while two other polls (from NBC/Wall Street Journal and National Journal) showed it at six and four, respectively.
To learn more about the issue of unborn pain please visit the aforementioned Charlotte Lozier Institute as well as National Right to Life.