Dead Fetal Pain Act Causing Pain in Movement

| 7 Comments

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Denver, Colorado December 13, 2006

Law Professor and Pro-life Leader Differ on Life After Roe
Dead Fetal Pain Act Causing Pain in Movement

If Roe v. Wade is overturned, will the hundreds of abortion regulations on the books have the unintended effect of keeping abortion legal?

On Denver radio yesterday, Notre Dame law professor Charles E. Rice addressed a post-Roe scenario that the pro-life movement has so far ignored. “If the [U.S. Supreme] Court says the states can regulate abortion, then to protect the right to life, you’d have to get rid of the [pro-life] abortion laws.”

On the same program seven days earlier, the president of Wyoming Right to Life and influential publisher of LifeNews.com, Steven Ertelt, repeatedly stated that no abortion regulation law could possibly have the effect of keeping keep abortion legal if Roe v. Wade were simply overturned.

However, Dr. Rice, who teaches constitutional law, and morality and law, acknowledged that many pro-life laws across America, including Indiana’s Informed Consent law, would keep abortion legal if Roe v. Wade simply fell. Indiana Code, Title 16, Section 34, Chapter 2. Requirements for Performance of Abortion... states:

“1. (a) Abortion shall in all instances be a criminal act, except when... (1) During the first trimester of pregnancy for reasons based upon the professional, medical judgment of the pregnant woman’s physician if: (A) the abortion is performed by the physician; (B) the woman submitting to the abortion has filed her consent with her physician.”

Dr. Rice further warned that the pro-life Supreme Court justices who have ruled or spoken on abortion have stated that the states can regulate abortion, which directly undermines the very personhood of the child and further promotes moral relativism.

These radio interviews, available online at KGOV.com, further expose a developing pro-life strategy rift. Regarding National Right To Life’s failed Fetal Pain Act, Ertelt was asked, “Is it possible that offering pain medication for unborn children might encourage some women to go ahead and abort their baby?” And also, “When millions of Americans hear that fetuses are given pain medication, is it possible that might lower their opposition to even late-term abortion?” Ertelt repeatedly answered, “No, not at all” to these questions.

Dr. Rice called the Fetal Pain Act, which was voted down last week in the U.S. House of Representatives, unwise. He indicated that of course anesthesia will actually encourage some women to get an abortion, and may make late-term abortion seem more humane to the public.

Colorado Right To Life president Brian Rohrbough stated that Dr. Rice is so obviously correct that pro-lifers need a strategy overhaul because our own laws may end up keeping most abortions legal decades after Roe. “Pro-lifers will then have to convince a hostile media, the courts, and the public, that our own laws were unjust and must be repealed. That could take a century to accomplish.”

Contact Colorado Right To Life
VP Leslie Hanks 720-394-8946

7 Comments

Leslie,
This press release is misleading. You really shouldn't be posting your attacks on Steve Ertelt here.

The interview is pretty interesting in the places where Charles Rice tries to correct Bob Enyart's (the radio host) views on the Supreme Court justices and his incorrect view that Alito came up with the "undue burden" test.

Enyart also seems gets frustrated when Rice won't agree with Enyart's view that all laws which restrict abortion will help keep abortion legal throughout the United States. He then tries to interrupt Rice when Rice tries to explain how the state of Indiana would have to enact new laws to completely ban abortion. He tries to explain most laws wouldn't keep abortion legal but new laws would need to be passed since overturning Roe doesn't make abortion illegal it just give the states a chance to make abortion illegal.

Basically, if you listen to the interview most people will probably come to a different conclusion about Dr. Rice's view than you present.

Dr. Rice further warned that the pro-life Supreme Court justices who have ruled or spoken on abortion have stated that the states can regulate abortion, which directly undermines the very personhood of the child and further promotes moral relativism.

Where in the interview does Dr. Rice say that? That sounds like something Enyart said.

Dr. Rice also mentions that informing women about the pain of the unborn could also convince a woman not to have an abortion. Why isn't this in the press release?

I have to agree with JivinJ regarding the attack against Steve and the press release in general. Disagreement, discussion, etc. about the strategy and the purpose of a fetal pain law cease to be productive when experts are quoted only in a manner to promote one's proposition while opposing views are attacked without alternative.

I've never seen anyone dispute that requiring an abortionist to tell a mother (to the point that that's enforceable, which is variable) that her baby will suffer pain will cause women to question what they're doing (in other words, that's not the issue).

But the bill doesn't stop there, even though it should.

Instead, the bill further requires the doctor to offer anaesthesia -- i.e. to offer to take the pain away -- which is just going to convince a mother who WAS questioning what she's doing, because of the pain, that it's really okay, because the baby WON'T suffer pain.

That's just dumb. This fetal pain bill was poorly written, and it's dangerous.

We should be concentrating on passing an effective fetal pain bill that stops with simply requiring the mothers to be informed about the pain. That would be a positive step.

Anything else is going to encourage more abortions than it stops.

Further, closer to the subject of the press release, I should say that I've worked closely with legislation over the past 8 years. When a new federal law changes or comes into being (related to the overturning of a federal case, or through legislation) it is necessary to change state laws to conform with the new situation.

This is empirical proof that, without the changes in law, federal law does not automatically become the law of the land in a state.

Normally, these things are routine -- federal law now says this, and we must pass this routine bill to conform to the new federal regulations.

A state law which allows abortion (something which has allowed abortion in Colorado since 1967) would remain in effect until state law is changed to match federal law. This could certainly (and in many cases probably does) include "pro-life" laws excluding abortion from certain classes, and not from others. These laws, in fact, uphold the "legal right" to abortion except for the excluded situations -- therefore, they would allow abortion to continue.

And a "routine" law to change state law to conform with an overturned Roe v. Wade becomes very un-routine when it deals with a subject as controversial as abortion. Colorado's legislators have been contentious over something as relatively less controversial as implementing No Child Left Behind in state law. What do you think will happen when a Democrat-controlled legislature, backed up by a Democrat pro-abortion governor, is asked to change state law to recognize that federal law no longer upholds abortion as a "right"?

Ed,
How does the bill encourage more abortions?

Brian, Leslie, and you continue to assert this but fail to provide any well-thoughtout reasoning to back it up. You assert it as if it were a fact and expect others to accept that. The women who will be offered pain medication for their child have decided to have an abortion so it's not like they're going to have additional abortions because of this.

Jivin,

It's not faulty reasoning -- it's common sense.

If the goal is to make women change their mind by telling them their baby will suffer pain by the procedure (and that IS the stated reason Ertelt and others use to support this), then removing the pain will have the opposite effect.

So that's a net draw for those women who insist on having an abortion - it doesn't necessarily increase the number.

But many/most women are conflicted before and at the time they go to have an abortion. It's common sense that a baby is going to suffer if they have any sense that it's a baby at all. Many of these women turn around before they go to have an abortion because of this innate knowledge. If pain medication "removes the suffering" then it's common sense that more women will decide it's acceptable to go have an abortion.

Ask Leslie how many of these women can be turned around - how many of them have doubts even as they approach the abortion clinic. Leslie and many others, including my wife, spend hours outside of these clinics, and last year alone saved more than 100 babies because they convinced the moms not to go through with it.

Those are facts -- not conjecture.

Ed,
You again fail to provide any well-thought out reasoning for why this bill would lead to more abortions. The information is only provided to women who have already decided to have an abortion. The only thing it could do is make them change their mind in a positive direction since they've already in for an abortion.

Second, it's not as if an abortionist couldn't offer the woman pain medication for her child any way. So if a woman comes in and has concern about the pain of her child, I'm guessing most abortionists will either assert the child won't feel pain or offer pain medication.




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