Posted by: bridget | 7 December 2006

House Rejects Prenatal Bill

Yesterday, the House rejected a bill (The Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act) that would require a physician to tell a woman, past her 20th week of pregnancy, that her fetus could feel pain during an abortion procedure.  During prenatal surgery, physicians will routinely administer anaesthetics to the babies past 20 weeks gestation.  The bill does not require that a woman use the anaesthetic – she is free to reject it, even if the abortion is not medically necessary.  Essentially, all that the bill requires is that the mother be given the option of having her baby anaesthised during the abortion.  

“Feminists” are cheering this as a victory for abortion rights.  Are women so weak that we need to be shielded from the idea that a late-term abortion may cause fetal pain?  (The pachyderm notes that the NY Times, that bastion of unbiased reporting, called this an “anti-abortion bill.”  How ’bout an “anti-pain bill?”) 

Arguably, women who seek abortions for medical reasons (either women who cannot continue the pregnancy or whose babies are not developing properly) – who represent the bulk of late-term abortions – may be more inclined to seek an abortion if given the option of anaesthesing the baby, instead of leaving that decision to the almighty OB-GYN.  In fact, Boston Magazine recently reported that women are fighting for more control during pregnancy and delivery.   This is the antithesis of both “pro-choice” and obliterates feminist principles of bodily integrity and the right to make informed decisions.

According to Zogby International, 77% of Americans support a law that would require women who are more than 20 weeks along in their pregnancies to be given information about fetal pain.  Modern laws require that the state administer an anaesthetic as part of lethal injection.  We anaesthise our animals before putting them to sleep.  So why do Democrats cheer the failure of a bill supported by more than 3/4th of the country and claim that it is anti-woman?  (Even if every man in America supports the Act, at least 54% of women must support the it, too.)

The only issue that the pachyderm has with the UCPAA is that it is done by Congress and not the states.  The practice of medicine and regulation of health, safety, and welfare of citizens has traditionally been a state, not a federal, matter.


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