From Fetal Pain to Fetal Voice: Where Will it End?

13 Oct

Jennie McCormack recently tried to seek a temporary restraining order against Idaho’s state law that bans abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy. As she is not currently pregnant, the judge ruled that McCormack lacks legal standing on this issue. However, to put this into perspective, Jennie’s lawsuit is the very first court case challenging any of the later abortion bans that have been enacted in the past few years.

Idaho, as well as Alabama, Indiana, Oklahoma, and Kansas, and Nebraska, all enacted post-20 week abortion bans.  This arbitrary 20 week deadline is based upon frequently disputed research that claims that a fetus starts to feel pain at or after 20 weeks of gestation.  There is no legitimate scientific information that supports this; In fact, far more evidence suggests that a fetus actually can’t distinguish between touch and pain until around 35-37 weeks.

Here’s the thing about these “fetal pain” laws: as with most anti-choice legislation, the hidden agenda is paramount.  One restriction always leads to another.  It is a never-ending cycle of misinformation and bogus science aimed at restricting women’s access to abortion. Slowly but surely anti-choice activists are chipping away at our rights, and we are letting them get away with it. Will our birth control be next? Will a miscarriage be considered a “wrongful” termination of pregnancy? Anti-choicers are not concerned with pain or safety or women; they only care about getting their political agenda across.

More women must find their voices and stand up against anti-choice restrictions.  Especially because fetuses are about to have their voices “heard” in Washington. Yes, really.  Today, October 13, we can all head down to the U.S. Capitol Congressional Auditorium and listen to the “voice of the unborn.”  Can this get any creepier? People will literally be watching and listening to ultrasounds, performed purely to make a political statement.

Voices From the Womb (yes, this is a real event) states, “all 535 members will be personally invited to witness live ultrasounds on women who are in their first, second and third trimester of pregnancy. Members of the House of Representatives and the Senate will have the opportunity, for the first time, in the United States Capitol to “hear” from the pre-born children of America.” Notice, the women carrying the “pre-born of America” do not get to say anything at all.  This is the kick-off of what will be a national tour coming to a state near you.   After all, it is about to be an election year.

The laundry list of provisions and restrictions is endless. Fetal pain laws, mandatory waiting periods, parental consent, medically inaccurate anti-abortion counseling sessions, forced ultrasounds…over and over again we put the “rights” of fetuses above the rights of the women who are carrying them.  And now, we are literally giving fetuses a “voice” in Washington. Where will it end? When will a woman’s voice finally matter more than the unborn fetus she carries?

4 Responses to “From Fetal Pain to Fetal Voice: Where Will it End?”

  1. freewomyn October 13, 2011 at 4:17 pm #

    I have been following the twitter feed about this crap all day. SO glad that there is a strong pro-choice voice supporting WOMEN in DC today.

  2. Debi March 13, 2012 at 5:00 pm #

    I am non-religious and care little about politics.
    What I do care about is the possibility that a foetus may experience pain during abortion.
    I say possibility, though I disagree with your statement that ‘There is no legitimate scientific information that supports this; In fact, far more evidence suggests that a fetus actually can’t distinguish between touch and pain until around 35-37 weeks.’
    One only has to do research to find alternative scientific evidence to the contrary.
    Isn’t it only humane and ethical to err on the side of caution and be sure that if perchance the foetus can feel pain that this is avoided by the administration of anaesthetic/analgesia.
    Wouldn’t many women be happier with this than not knowing for sure whether or not their aborted foetus had experienced potentially horrific pain?

  3. Steph L March 17, 2012 at 3:32 pm #

    “One only has to do research to find alternative scientific evidence to the contrary.”

    How about providing us some of that “alternative scientific evidence to the contrary”? Because the bulk of evidence supports the view that the fetal brain is not developed enough to process pain until later trimesters.

    “Isn’t it only humane and ethical to err on the side of caution and be sure that if perchance the foetus can feel pain that this is avoided by the administration of anaesthetic/analgesia.”

    No.

    “Wouldn’t many women be happier with this than not knowing for sure whether or not their aborted foetus had experienced potentially horrific pain?”

    This isn’t about administering anestheisa to fetuses. Its about a 20-week cutoff limit for abortions based on zero scientific evidence.

    Why don’t you advocate adminestering anesthesia to fetuses right before being born? Its verly likey the process of being squeezed out the vagina is painful.

  4. Debi April 1, 2012 at 9:09 am #

    I currently stand undecided in the abortion debate and I was hoping for some meaningful discourse on the point I raised.

    I have included at the bottom of this post some links to ‘zero scientific evidence.’ These articles/papers I have read, alongside those hypothesising that foetal pain cannot be experienced till much later in pregnancy. Considering all leads me to believe that the question of foetal pain and just how early this is experienced is far from conclusive.
    I didn’t include these references in my earlier post as I assumed you would already be familiar with them by way of your own research toward your own viewpoint on the matter.

    I note your reluctance to expand upon your simple ‘No’ answer re the ethics of avoiding possibly inflicting pain. Whether people agree or disagree with abortion, most will agree that inflicting unnecessary suffering is wrong.

    Few women will take termination of a pregnancy lightly. For most it will be a traumatic experience-physically, socially and emotionally.
    My point here is that emotional trauma following abortion could, for many women, be reduced by a sure knowledge that their foetus did not suffer. You gave me no answer in regard to this.
    I am surprised that if you consider yourself an advocate for the rights and welfare of women that you cannot at least accept this to be a relevant consideration.

    I make reference to foetal pain in response to its mention within the article and because it is a pertinent consideration to the twenty week cut off.

    In answer to your ‘Why don’t you advocate adminestering anesthesia to fetuses right before being born? Its verly likey the process of being squeezed out the vagina is painful.’

    -A mother’s endorphins serve as a natural analgesia which transfers to her baby during birth.
    More to the point I hardly think that being squeezed through tissue expanding to accommodate you compares with the potential pain of being dismembered.

    http://ceaccp.oxfordjournals.org/content/8/2/71.full
    http://www.nrlc.org/abortion/Fetal_Pain/Fetal-Pain-The-Evidence.pdf
    http://www.nrlc.org/abortion/Fetal_Pain/AnandPainReport.pdf
    http://anes-som.ucsd.edu/VP Articles/Topic C. Anand.pdf
    http://www.search.com/reference/Fetal_pain
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2900087/
    http://journals.cambridge.org/abstract_S0140525X07000891

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