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Fetal Pain Law Takes Effect

Fetal Pain Law Takes Effect

The nation’s first abortion ban based on “emerging data” on fetal pain took effect this week in Nebraska.  The Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, passed in April, bans abortions after 20 weeks and is a bell-weather of the state of reproductive rights on so many levels. 

While many states have already banned abortions after 20 weeks (and some even before) the Nebraska law is the first of its kind to ground that ban in the argument that the intent is to protect a developing fetus from pain.  The argument is part of the growing fetal rights movement that is intent on creating some kind of legal recognition and status for “future” citizens.

The ban, and the movement, is popular despite the fact that less and four percent of abortions occur between 16 and 20 weeks.  But as Shelby Knox unpacks, there’s a lot more to the movement than may appear at first.

The success of the Nebraska ban represents a real dilemma for reproductive rights activists.  There’s good reason to think that the ban is unconstitutional.  Yet, given the decidedly conservative nature of the courts, reproductive health advocates have been reluctant to launch a legal challenge for fear of solidifying bad law.

But since there has, so far, been little successful push back against this measure the anti-choice community has taken this as a green light to further advance their extreme agenda, as seen in states like Colorado.

So, for the time being at least, women’s access to honest and appropriate health care appears held hostage by politics buttressed by dubious science.

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photo courtesy of abby batcheldor via Flickr

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111 comments

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4:36AM PST on Feb 24, 2013

Actually, caring what the majority thinks is called Democracy!

4:35AM PST on Feb 24, 2013

Actually, caring what the majority thinks is called Democracy!

10:43PM PST on Feb 23, 2013

You might care what the majority thinks but I don't.

9:34AM PST on Feb 23, 2013

Christopher M. needs to give it a rest. You seem to be the only one posting on here and the majority does not agree with you. As in the majority in the US. As in the Supreme Court.

9:34AM PST on Feb 23, 2013

Christopher M. needs to give it a rest. You seem to be the only one posting on here and the majority does not agree with you. As in the majority in the US. As in the Supreme Court.

8:43AM PST on Feb 23, 2013

@ Christopher M. “When are we going to see some feel good story about a baby human who gets a loving home?” How about as soon as you contribute one ? Perhaps one about an unwanted baby who gets a loving home despite the mother’s circumstances. “You were a parasite too. Me first, right? Me the center of the universe” Quite an admission. Thanks for your honesty.


8:42AM PST on Feb 23, 2013

Christopher M .......... 8 short comments (160 butterfly credits, no less) just on this section of the thread !!!! Only 1 other comment managed to squeeze its way in between (one word from Nimue P)..... and what have you actually said ??? Your entire series of comments is composed of disgusting, hateful, unchristian, sickening, sarcastic RANTING !!!!!! Hasn't the absence of any response (other than the "Whatever" from Nimue) between 4.44pm yesterday and 8.10 am today "struck any chords" in your brain ??? Nobody wants to talk to you Christopher !!!!!!!!

8:35AM PST on Feb 23, 2013

@ Lawrence E. “the notion that all living life forms have a right to not fear being put to death for someone else's pleasure. sustanance, or punishment”. It is just that; a notion. A right? Where does that right come from ? Who enforces that right? And don’t tell me God, or the Bible. It isn’t in there. It is a matter of morals and compassion, and you won’t find much of that in religious texts.

8:19AM PST on Feb 23, 2013

Sounds like fetuses are guilty of existing inside a woman's body. Trespassers will be killed.

8:15AM PST on Feb 23, 2013

When are we going to see some feel good story about a baby human who gets a loving home? If killing an animal and saving a baby is out of place, so is killing a fetus and saving animals.

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