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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

The Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act

Category: Women's Issues
Posted: 07/06/13 17:13

by Dave Mindeman

When Congress (or the states) name a bill, they can't resist making a political statement right at the onset.

The anti-choice bill making the rounds lately is entitled:

The Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.

A political name but NOT a scientific one.

The anti-choice lobby wants very much for you to believe that the mass of cells that constitute a fetus have full human capability from the get go. In this debate, science is the first casualty.

A 20 week fetus cannot feel pain. To feel pain you have to have a brain that can interpret what is happening. At 20 weeks, that does not happen.

Pain is sometimes a mystery to humans in general. We can apply a nerve block or cut a nervous system pathway that can completely alleviate pain from an unknown cause. When that happens a person feels no pain - none. Is there still pain in the defined sense?

The reason for pain is to give the body a heads up about an injury or a malfunction. The brain has the ability to interpret some of what it means - but sometimes, the body sends the wrong message and the pain receptors fire for no reason.

Since we have such difficulty understanding pain in grown human beings, how in the world can we make any kind of official determination in a fetus?

The bill has a completely bogus name. A 20 week fetus cannot feel pain, because it does not have the brain interpretive capability to have pain (and we are using the term loosely here) until at least the 28th week.

Fetuses have reflexes. Fetuses can have appendages at an early stage. But does that make them a person needing "protection"? The scientific answer is NO.

I actually sympathize with the need for reducing abortions. And we are. And I believe that we need to use science to deal with that, which means more prominent use of contraception - not less.

But these latest assaults on reproductive rights are callous, misinformed, and quite frankly, utter nonsense.

If that is the future that the Republican Party wishes to choose, then so be it - the real pain may be at the ballot box.
comments (1) permalink

No Explanation Necessary

Category: Women's Issues
Posted: 07/05/13 17:51

by Dave Mindeman

Here is one of those pictures that kind of sum up the problems with abortion debates. No real explanation necessary.....


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North Dakota Legislature - Have You Thought This Through?

Category: Women's Issues
Posted: 04/04/13 04:28, Edited: 04/04/13 04:32

by Dave Mindeman

First point - Planned Parenthood does NOT do abortions in North Dakota. Let's be clear about that at the start of this discussion. There's an independent clinic in North Dakota that provides abortions....just the one. Yet, Planned Parenthood is a prime target of the Minnesota legislature....for sex education.

Here is an explanation (from Sarah Stoesz, Midwest CEO of Planned Parenthood) of an NDSU/Planned Parenthood partnered program that is meant to PREVENT unwanted pregnancies....

We applied with North Dakota State University (NDSU) for a grant, $1.2 million dollars from the feds, to provide sex education in Fargo to some of the most vulnerable kids in the state, kids who are homeless and in foster care. These are kids who have a 50 percent chance of becoming parents by the time they age out of the system and become adults.

They're kids who really aren't well-equipped to be parents. They don't come from intact families, they're homeless and we wanted to help them, at least with that part of their lives. And so the federal government made this grant. It went to NDSU, which is obviously a state entity, and then to us.

At the prodding of members of the Catholic Conference in North Dakota, some legislators questioned NDSU and pushed them, saying that the state should not be contracting with an organization that provided abortion, even though we don't provide abortions in North Dakota. But in any event, the president of the university went on conservative talk radio and announced to the university and the world that he was freezing this plan.

North Dakota legislators don't care that Planned Parenthood doesn't actually do abortions in North Dakota. They don't care that Planned Parenthood is a main source of women's health for the poor in North Dakota. They don't care that Planned Parenthood works hard to educate young women about unprotected sex and its consequences.

Nope. They don't care. To legislators in North Dakota, Planned Parenthood = Abortion. That's it.

So what do they do?

After all this outrage on the part of the (NDSU) faculty and on the part of the people of North Dakota around the attempted cutting of the (sex education) grant, and after the Attorney General told them they couldn't do it, the legislators in the house, without any hearing or public testimony, slipped an amendment into yet another anti-abortion bill, which is a 20-week ban.

That would create a law such that no state money could be passed through to entities that either perform or refer on abortion. Even though we don't perform abortions, we certainly do refer in North Dakota. So the legislature does not want to accept the current status, which is that the federal government has made a lot of money available to help the most vulnerable teens in the state avoid pregnancy.

Vulnerable teens having unwanted pregnancies....and probably ending up seeking an abortion....somewhere.

Mission accomplished North Dakota legislature? Really?

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