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Gosnell Trial Highlights Need to Protect Unborn Babies Who Are Capable of Feeling Pain

The trial of Kermit Gosnell has lighlighted the violence and pain that is associated with abortion. The trial focused on the unspeakable horrors Gosnell inflicted on babies born alive after late-term abortions. But the few inches separating a child in the womb from one outside the womb does not spare a child from excruciating pain during an abortion procedure.

Scientific medical evidence demonstrates that unborn children are capable of experiencing pain, certainly by 20 weeks after fertilization. At this time, all the physical structures necessary to experience pain have developed. Unborn children react to painful stimuli and their hormonal reactions consistent with pain can be measured.

Abortion procedures used at 20 weeks and further into pregnancy, most commonly the D&E method where the child is dismembered limb by limb, are extremely painful to the unborn child. The fact that the unborn child can experience severe pain from abortion provides additional verification that this child is a human being deserving of protection.

In 2011, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported that 114 abortions took place in Wisconsin of babies over 20 weeks gestation.

In order to protect unborn children who are capable of feeling pain, Wisconsin Right to Life is strongly supporting the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act authored by Representative Erik Severson and Senator Paul Farrow. Under the Farrow/Severson legislation, no abortion could be performed or induced unless the physician performing the abortion makes a determination of the probable post-fertilization age of the unborn child and no person could perform or induce an abortion if it is determined that the probable gestational age of the unborn child is 20 weeks or more. The prohibition would not apply in a medical emergency.

Kermit Gosnell snipped the spines of babies who were born alive after attempts to abortion them. But those babies would have died just as painfully if he had killed them while still in the womb, as is the case in most late-term abortions. It doesn’t make any difference if the abortion takes place in a filthy clinic like Gosnell’s or a Planned Parenthood facility…the result is the same…an excruciatingly painful death. Performing elective abortions on pain capable children is cruel and should have no place in a civilized society. The Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act will protect these children.

Sue Armacost

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