New study negates latest anti-abortion legislation

Home Archived Opinion New study negates latest anti-abortion legislation

Erika Wilhite

Published: September 14, 2005

Earlier this year, Sen. Sa  Brownback (R-Kan.) proposed legislation requiring physicians to inform women seeking abortions 20 or more weeks after fertilization that the fetus will feel pain, and offer to administer anesthesia to the fetus.

Problematically, that claim is wholly unsubstantiated by the medical         community. A study published by the American Medical Association argues that thalamocortical fibers (pain perception connections) don’t even appear until 23 to 30 weeks into gestation, and further studies show that these don’t even function for several more weeks.

Even assuming that the study isn’t comprehensive, the medical community still isn’t sure about the effectiveness or safety of fetal anesthesia. Administering it may actually increase the health risks for the woman. And that’s a big chance to take, considering that it probably isn’t beneficial to the fetus in the first place.

Why propose legislation to protect a fetus from pain its brain can’t even register yet?

Sen. Brownback has a track record of adamant anti-choice policy and legislation, so it’s reasonable to say that he would be happy if abortion  were illegalized. Lately, anti-choicers seem to have taken the stance that if abortion can’t be illegalized, at least they can try to guilt-trip women out of having them.

Unfortunately, many American women are susceptible to pseudo-Christian propaganda. Thus, pro-lifers have found that it is extremely effective to tell women that abortion is not only wrong because the Bible says so (though it never actually forbids it), but that the procedure is painful for the fetus, and therefore doubly immoral.

But no amount of guilt-inducing propaganda will ever end abortion. Most women already feel very guilty when they abort; being made to feel guiltier just adds to their torment. It doesn’t solve any problems.

It’s been argued that there are viable options, beyond abortion, for women who find themselves with unwanted pregnancies, but that isn’t usually the case. As difficult as it is to abort a fetus, no one other than the  circumstances. This goes without saying for rape pregnancies and teenage pregnancies.

Generally speaking, the same people who are trying to restrict or outlaw   abortion are also those who don’t believe in birth control or sex education. The results are obvious: conservative Mississippi and Texas (which both have legislation allowing providers not to   dispense birth control) have two of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in the US, closely followed by Florida and Georgia.

Targeting abortions by causing women to feel that they’re immoral poses a big problem because no matter how you role the dice, no matter how much legislation you try to pass, the only effective means of preventing abortion is preventing pregnancies.

Effective birth control will reduce the number of abortions. Guilt trips never have. End of story.

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