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.