This weekend, Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, an abortion chain with 23 locations in Iowa and Nebraska, has exploited a pregnancy tragedy in an attempt to derail legislation in Iowa — and other states, including Kansas– to protect pain-capable unborn children from the excruciating pain of abortion. Video here.
Last November, Nebraskan Danielle Deavers suffered a complete premature rupture of the membranes at 22 weeks into her pregnancy, forecasting a dismal future: her unborn child, Elizabeth, would likely be born with head deformities, muscle tissue compaction and a halted lung development, contributing to a 10% chance of survival.
An abortion was not legally available as her unborn child was alive and Deaver was not suffering a life-threatening physical medical emergency. In an interview taped at Planned Parenthood, the obviously still-grieving parents are objecting that the 2010 Nebraska Pain-capable Unborn Child Protection Act does not allow unborn child termination–even to shorten intense parental emotional turmoil.
The Nebraska law– like Kansas House Bill 2218–– is based on decades of evidence that shows the unborn child not only can feel pain by the 20th week after conception– she/he feels pain more excruciatingly than any child or adult because pain suppressors do not mature until the 40th week of gestation, and later! The mounds of evidence on the pro-life side include:
- hundreds of scientific articles in respected journals,
- undisputed Congressional testimony,
- the existence of fetal anesthesiology as a medical specialty, and
- the protocols of NICU units acknowledging the pain-sensitivity of post-20 week preemies is more acute than that of full term babies.
But the Associated Press doesn’t refer to the evidence, instead always using the phrase “disputed notion that fetuses can feel pain.” The term “dispute” is justified in their eyes by these paltry, even self-contradictory, sources:
- a JAMA 2005 article produced by pro-abortion activists citing selective dated medical literature to claim fetal pain only begins at 29 weeks gestation (rebutted here);
- a British 2010 study asserting that pain starts at 24 weeks due to the “unconscious” fetal state (rebutted here);
- claim by ACOG that “no legitimate scientific information” supports that a fetus experiences pain.” (rebutted here)
Abortion techniques typically used in the second trimester are exceedingly gruesome, ranging from dismemberment to injecting poison into the baby’s heart. Nothing in the news stories this weekend indicates the Deavers would have used either of these abortion techniques. But had the baby’s delivery been induced, Elizabeth still would have gone through the same struggle to breathe that she did when she was born spontaneously eight days later.
Abortion bans based on the pain capability of the unborn, like HB 2218, do not interfere with the medical management of challenging pregnancies.
“It is a sad reality that some unborn babies are so injured that they do not survive,” said Mary Spaulding Balch, NRLC Director of State Legislation, who authored the pain-based abortion ban. “Abortion falsely promises to give us ‘control’ but abortion would not have changed the outcome for baby Elizabeth…and in fact [the Nebraska law] ensured that Danielle Deaver would be able to hold her precious Elizabeth in her arms.”