Friday, August 3, 2012

Fetal Pain & Arizona

I have no perspective on the subject of fetal pain because I've never looked into it myself.  I've never looked into it because fetal pain does not affect my position on abortion.  Even if we were certain fetuses felt no pain during abortion, I would still find abortion unethical and would seek to see it legally restricted.  There are, after all, already-born humans with congenital insensitivity to pain; it is still unethical to kill them.  (Plus, frankly, I'm still a bit researched-out after exploring the alleged abortion-breast cancer link.)

However, the idea of fetal pain does affect policy.  Arizona has created a ban on most abortions beginning at 20-weeks gestation under the theory that this is when the fetus begins to feel pain.  Just this week US District Judge James Tellborg upheld the ban only to have it temporarily prohibited by a federal appeals court days later.  Banning abortion at 20 weeks gestation is a relatively new approach, starting with Nebraska's ban in 2010.  Arizona is now one of 10 states to attempt this type of legislation.

I'm interested to hear more about the rationale for these bans.  If it is legal to kill a fetus after 20-weeks gestation unless the fetus can feel pain, could doctors simply anesthetize the fetus and then continue?  Or is the ability to feel pain meant to imply that the fetus is now a "person"?  

I know this subject tends to revolve around whether the fetus can feel pain at a certain point, but I'm still stuck on "Why does that matter?"  Why would a human's inability to feel pain imply less moral worth or legal consideration?

6 comments: said...

I don't think that the ability to feel pain has anything to do with moral worth-- and I'm sure the proponents of fetal pain legislation agree. As I see it, killing is wrong, and causing someone physical pain is also wrong. Late-term abortions are worse simply because they do both, not because the child is "worth more." It's analogous to animal rights groups that push for humane slaughter laws; they don't think that slaughter is okay to begin with, but ending suffering is a first step. It gets people thinking in a way that's favorable to greater rights for animals, or the preborn, in the future.

Christina said...

I think most of the point of the law is to get abortion advocates to admit that the abortions even HAPPEN, and to admit that all this time they've been torturing babies to death in-utero. The effect is largely PR, but favorable to PL and unfavorable to PC.

Anonymous said...

people who support the right to choose aren't in denial about the fact that late term abortions happen. Pro-choice policies are intended to help minimize the chance that a woman seeking an abortion would be at that stage of pregnancy when she gets the abortion. Defunding clinics, legislated waiting periods, and crisis pregnancy centers work to undermine women seeking an abortion, which means that by the time they are able to get access to a legitmate abortion provider, the chance of complications are higher. In countries where there is easy access to reproductive health services, the abortion rate and the rate of late term abortions is lower. Pro-life policies are the cause of abortion related hazards.

Sarah Cane said...

Sure, pro-lifers are the cause of late term abortions, not the people seeking the abortions or the doctors performing them.

Keep telling yourself that to try to absolve yourself of the guilt and sorrow that you must be feeling deep inside.

Anonymous said...

While both sides prattle on and argue, everyone is loosing site of the real victims and the gross human rights issue we are facing.

While we are all arguing and debating, living children that feel very real pain are being dismembered and ripped from their mothers womb. They are being ripped apart, while alive, piece by piece. Just think about it for a moment. Forget all the rhetoric.

If you need a visual image, see a medical diagram of the procedure at:

Imagine, for a minute, the immense pain that they must be feeling.

This goes beyond politics, religion, etc. This is huge injustice and is just plain wrong and horrific, no matter what side of the 'aisle' you sit on.

KB said...

I agree, pain is irrelevant to the question. Certainly, causing more pain would in my opinion is wrong as well, but it is not required to answer the question: is it okay to destroy human life?