For the past two weeks, I have been working on Capitol Hill as an intern. It is an exciting time to be on the Hill because of the recently introduced Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (HR 1797). This bill would prohibit abortions past 20 weeks of gestational age. The House of Representatives will vote on it this Tuesday, June 18th – please call your Member of Congress and urge them to support this important bill: (202) 224-3121.
Please also participate in the Tweet Fest going on right now by using the hashtag #theyfeelpain.
This bill is important because of the myriad of scientific evidence that supports the fact that unborn children can feel pain by the 20th week of fetal development. By 16 weeks post-fertilization, pain receptors are present throughout the unborn child’s body. By no later than 20 weeks, there are links from the nerves to the brain.
While the majority of abortions occur in the first trimester, second trimester abortions still occur and can be very painful for the unborn child. The common second trimester abortion procedures includes dismemberment (D&E) and inducing a fetal heart attack (digoxin abortion). If being torn limb from limb or having a heart attack does not sound painful to you, I don’t know what would.
One of the driving forces behind this bill is the exposure of Kermit Gosnell. Kermit Gosnell was found guilty of the murder of three babies that were born alive during late term abortions and the involuntary manslaughter of an adult patient. According to the grand jury report, abortions past the 24-week limit Pennsylvania limit were a regular occurrence and babies were frequently born breathing and moving. Once born, Gosnell would sever the baby’s spinal cord. There is not an exact number of how many babies he killed, but does that matter? Human beings, old enough to survive outside of the womb, met a painful death. Gosnell’s horrific practices and the brutality of the babies’ deaths have sparked a fresh debate about abortion in America – one that we need to have.
From my experience talking to my peers, many do not know at what point in fetal development is an acceptable stage to prohibit abortions. Should we have protections for the unborn at a certain age? Viability? Personhood? Ability to feel pain?
This bill not only saves lives but it is an education tool. Slowly but surely, we are becoming more aware of the atrocities of abortion. The unfolding of the Kermit Gosnell trial opened the eyes of many Americans. It tugs at the heartstrings knowing that the babies Gosnell killed, and others late term abortionists continue to kill, can feel excruciating pain.
The Polling Company recently found 64% of Americans are supportive of a bill that bans abortion after 20 weeks of gestation. This is a good first step in limiting abortions. While it does not include the majority of abortions, this bill sheds light on the humanity of the unborn.
If you would like to speak up for the voiceless, contact Congress and use the hashtag #theyfeelpain on Twitter to encourage your representative to vote for this bill. Also, you can educate your followers with the scientific evidence about fetal pain found here: http://www.doctorsonfetalpain.com
Rest assured, the pro-life movement will continue to work hard for unborn children of all gestational ages to be protected under the law, but this bill is an important first step.