In April this year the US state of Nebraska legislature signed off a bill that could weaken further the Roe v.Wade Supreme Court decision that has resulted in 52 million abortions.
The bill bans abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy based on the well-established concept of fetal pain.
By a vote of 44-5, the Nebraska unicameral legislature gave final passage to the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act introduced by Speaker Mike Flood.
The legislation has been hailed by pro-life advocates across the country for its innovative approach and focusing the public’s attention on unborn babies who have been medically documented as pain capable at 20 weeks gestation.
One effect of the bill was to drive LeRoy Carhart, an abortionist doing late abortions, out of the state to do abortions in Iowa, Maryland, and Indiana.
I see now that Iowa legislators are in the process of drafting similar legislation to drive him out of Iowa and Medical News Today has reported on moves to push similar bills more widely afield.
These recent developments are most interesting in the light of the controversy earlier this year surrounding a report from the RCOG claiming that fetuses cannot feel pain until 24 weeks gestation.
I reviewed this report in June 2010 and argued that the RCOG had simply cherry picked both the evidence and the researchers which led them to their conclusions.
However these new bills in the US give an indication how opposition to late abortion is growing with every new piece of knowledge about the fetus.