Pro-Life Leaders Tout Importance of Passing Fetal Pain Awareness Bill


Senior Member
Jun 30, 2004
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By Jim Brown and Jenni Parker
December 6, 2006

(AgapePress) -- Pro-life members of the House of Representatives are urging passage of H.R. 6099, the Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act, during the current lame-duck session of Congress. The House vote on the bill authored by New Jersey Congressman Chris Smith is scheduled for tomorrow morning (Wednesday, December 6).

If passed, H.R. 6099 would require that women considering an abortion 20 weeks or more after fertilization be informed of the pain their child would feel during the lethal procedure so they may request anesthesia in order to reduce or eliminate the child's pain. The bill would not require anesthesia; it would, however, protect a doctor's right to inform the woman of any risks to her according to the doctor's own best medical judgment.

At a Capitol Hill press conference yesterday, Congressman Smith was flanked by several pro-life lawmakers, including Georgia Representative Dr. Phil Gingrey, who is also an obstetrician-gynecologist. Gingrey addressed the press, speaking from his experience delivering many premature babies, even at as early as 26 or 28 weeks.The lawmaker and physician noted that, even before a doctor performs a circumcision on a newborn male infant, the doctor is required to inform the mother "that the child is going to experience some pain during the procedure -- a two-minute procedure, by the way -- and to offer pain medication for the child, whether it's an ointment or injection."

In that situation, Gingrey points out, "literally, using the pain medication takes longer than the procedure itself," but mothers nevertheless have a right, under the law, to give informed consent. And that, he says, is why, even though many of his ob-gyn colleagues support abortion, they support the Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act.

Those doctors support the fetal pain bill, the Georgia Republican explains, because they see it as a "compassionate" piece of legislation that "takes informed consent to the level it should be taken." And Congressman Smith, author of the bill, agrees, calling the measure "a modest but necessary expansion of informed consent."

Smith says this important legislation takes up "the morally troubling question of how much pain an unborn child suffers when he or she is dismembered or poisoned by an abortionist." Also at issue, he asserts, is whether a woman has a right to know "that her child is pain-capable and that an abortion will likely impose excruciating pain upon the baby."

The New Jersey Republican says he and other supporters of H.R. 6099 believe the answer to that question "is a strong affirmative." Many pro-lifers, who are looking anxiously forward to tomorrow's vote, are hoping a majority in Congress will respond in the same way.

Concerned Women for America president Wendy Wright was among the pro-lifers who joined Congressmen Smith, Gingrey, and others at the Washington press conference in support of the Child Pain Awareness Act. She says by the 20th week of pregnancy, an unborn baby will feel even greater pain than the mother; but sadly, "this information is rarely communicated to women" along with the "necessary medical knowledge to make a rational decision."

Congress needs to "denounce the torture inflicted on innocent unborn babies through abortion," Wright insists, just as many of these lawmakers have denounced the use of torture against terrorists. "The first step," she adds, "is to ensure that mothers are provided with information on what their child will experience and given options."

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