Senate Committee investigates fetal pain and babies born alive after abortions

abortion, congress

On Tuesday morning, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on late-term abortions and born-alive infants. This is the same Committee which has courageously refused to hold votes on a Supreme Court nominee from President Obama.

While members of the Republican majority presented witnesses in favor of a 20-week ban on abortions due to the child’s ability to feel pain, members of the Democratic minority presented witnesses that were opposed to this idea and, even, opposed to caring for children born alive after failed abortion attempts.

Dr. Colleen Malloy, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Neonatology at Northwestern University testified that “[w]ith advancements in neonatology and perinatal medicine, we have been able to push back the gestational age at which a neonate can be resuscitated and resuscitated successfully.” Further, Dr. Malloy testified that it “[i]s easy for us to imagine the lives of infants past 22 weeks LMP, as they are kicking, moving, reacting, and developing right before our eyes in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).” Her testimony made the point that there should be no difference in the right to life of two children who are at the same exact age – one still in the womb and the other in the hospital.

Comparing the United States’ extreme abortion laws to the rest of the world, Angelina Nguyen from the Charlotte Lozier Institute testified that “[t]he United States is one of only seven countries in the world that permit elective abortion past 20 weeks.” Two of the other six countries on this list are China and North Korea.

Although the witnesses for the majority presented cold, hard facts and statistics, Senator Orrin Hatch acknowledged that “[i]t seems the medical doctors on the panel differ with the sociology doctors” on the start of fetal pain. In fact, that is not all that the witnesses disagreed on.

Jodi Magee, President of Physicians for Reproductive Health stated that “[t]oday, abortion has an enviable record in medicine, with a 99% safety rate and a less than 1% complication rate.” Further, she testified that “[p]hysicians that provide abortion place the highest priority on their patients’ safety and well-being.” While this is irrelevant to the purpose of a 20-week ban – protecting preborn children who feel pain – it could also not be further from the truth when it comes to born-alive infants. Live Action’s series of Inhuman investigations in 2013 uncovered several late-term abortionists who were willing to let born-alive infants die if the woman gave birth before the abortion or as a result of a failed abortion.

Senator Thom Tillis summed up what many on the Committee felt should happen after a baby survives a botched abortion: “I believe when a baby is born, we have a new patient and a new American citizen that we should take care of.” Dr. Malloy also testified to the increased survival rates of very premature infants. She cited a report from the New England Journal of Medicine, which reports that, with the current technology in the delivery room, the survival rate of infants born at 22 weeks gestation is 23 percent. The survival rate of those born at 26 weeks is 81 percent – with over 75 percent having no severe impairments. (More information here.)

For the minority Senators and the minority witnesses, the rhetoric diverted away from addressing the issue of whether preborn children can feel pain. Instead, as Senator Dianne Feinstein stated, abortions should be “safe and legal.” Apparently the third platform of “rare” is no longer satisfactory to those members of Congress and the abortion lobby pushing for abortion on demand without limitations.

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