Texas Legislators Introduce Anti-Abortion “Fetal Pain” Bill

Texas State Representatives Jodie Laubenberg (D R) and Jeff Leach (R) have introduced a so-called “fetal pain” bill called The Preborn Pain Act, which would ban abortions after 20 weeks, claiming that a fetus, which is called an “unborn child” in the bill, can feel pain. The bill, if passed, would shorten the window of time that a woman can terminate an unwanted pregnancy by seven weeks.

The Texas Right To Life has claimed that fetuses feel “torturous pain” in abortion. But that claim holds no ground in, well, science.  The Journal of The American Medical Association’s 2005 review doesn’t show evidence of fetuses feeling any pain before the third trimester at the earliest. Additionally, the bill doesn’t require a woman to be absolutely positively 20 weeks pregnant.  If the woman is unsure of how many weeks along she is, but it’s probable it could be 20 weeks, she will still be unable to terminate her pregnancy.

And that’s not even the worst part of the bill.

Language in this bill safeguards portions of it to remain law, even if other parts are declared unconstitutional (as they often are when it comes to restricting women’s reproductive rights).

Why are conservatives so focused on banning abortions after 20 weeks? According to the Guttmacher Institute, in 2006 only 5.3 percent of women who had abortions had them after 16 weeks.  The actual bill will impact a relatively small — yet still unacceptable — amount of women who get abortions at or after 20 weeks. But this bill nevertheless serves to plant the medically-unproven idea in people’s heads that fetuses suffer from great pain. Disgraceful.

[The Dallas Observer]
[Texas Tribune]
[The Guttmacher Institute]
[Journal of the American Medical Association]

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