Despite threats to their safety from pro-abortion activists, from whom police confiscated jars of feces and urine, the pro-life community rejoiced when members of the Texas state senate approved a bill to ban late-term abortions.
The bill seeks to ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy and require that abortion clinics meet the same health and safety standards as other ambulatory surgery centers. Abortion doctors are now required to secure admitting privileges at a nearby hospital and personally administer abortion-inducing drugs to patients.
In response to the passage of the bill, Maureen Ferguson, Senior Policy Advisor with The Catholic Association, released the following statement:
Today is a great day for Texans as they pass a bill protecting women and pre-born children who feel pain during an abortion. This victory for life comes right after yet another poll finds that Americans by a 2 to 1 margin favor protections for the unborn who have reached 20 weeks gestation. In a post-Gosnell era, we should address rampant sub-standard practices at abortion clinics and protect pre-born babies. We call on the US Senate to act on the House passed Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.
The president of Planned Parenthood, however, warned that while Texas Republicans and pro-life advocates won this round, it would cost them politically down the road.
According to Dallas News, Cecile Richards said the passage of the bill “lit a fuse.”
“They’re not listening to the people,” Richards said. “They’re running roughshod over the political process.”
Richards, the daughter of late Democratic Texas governor Ann Richards, referred to the pro-life victory as a “temporary defeat” for abortion advocates.
“You will be able to win a tactical advantage,” she said. “But in the long run, all they have done is built a committed group of people across this state who are outraged about the treatment of women and the lengths to which this legislature will go to take women’s health care away.”
Richards said that Democrats have promised to challenge the constitutionality of the new abortion restrictions in court.
“We do believe that there are definitely parts of this law that are unconstitutional,” she said. “We’ve made that case repeatedly to the state legislature, but they don’t seem to be interested in facts, in science, in medicine, or frankly, in the will of the people of Texas.”
LifeNews reported that the bill relies on the science of fetal pain.
Beginning in 1980, Dr. Steven Zielinski, an internal medicine physician from Oregon, published reports to validate research demonstrating that unborn babies at “eight-and-a-half weeks and possibly earlier” could experience pain.
Zielinski and his colleagues, Drs. Vincent J. Collins and Thomas J. Marzen, wrote decades ago:
The functioning neurological structures necessary to suffer pain are developed early in a child’s development in the womb. Functioning neurological structures necessary for pain sensation are in place as early as 8 weeks, but certainly by 13 1/2 weeks of gestation. Sensory nerves, including nociceptors, reach the skin of the fetus before the 9th week of gestation. The first detectable brain activity occurs in the thalamus between the 8th and 10th weeks. The movement of electrical impulses through the neural fibers and spinal column takes place between 8 and 9 weeks gestation. By 13 1/2 weeks, the entire sensory nervous system functions as a whole in all parts of the body.
Dr. Colleen Malloy, Assistant Professor, Division of Neonatology at Northwestern University, testified before the House Judiciary Committee in May of 2012:
… [w]hen we speak of infants at 22 weeks LMP [Note: this is 20 weeks post fertilization], for example, we no longer have to rely solely on inferences or ultrasound imagery, because such premature patients are kicking, moving, reacting, and developing right before our eyes in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
In today’s medical arena, we resuscitate patients at this age and are able to witness their ex-utero growth and development. Medical advancement and technology have enabled us to improve our ability to care for these infants… In fact, standard of care for neonatal intensive care units requires attention to and treatment of neonatal pain
… [t]hus, the difference between fetal and neonatal pain is simply the locale in which the pain occurs. The receiver’s experience of the pain is the same. I could never imagine subjecting my tiny patients to horrific procedures such as those that involve limb detachment or cardiac injection.