Politics In Abortion News
posted by December 7 at 11:52 AMon
A bill that would have required doctors to tell women (inaccurately, according to an extensive review of the evidence) that fetuses can feel pain as early as 20 weeks’ gestation* and offer them “fetal anasthetic” fell short of the two-thirds vote needed in the House yesterday (via Kaiser). Forty Democrats and 210 Republicans voted for the legislation, which was opposed by the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the National Abortion Federation but not by NARAL Pro-Choice America, whose leader, Nancy Keenan, is a devout Catholic who personally opposes abortion.
* A few charming facts about this bill, which received the support of a majority of the House: It would have applied to all fetuses 20 weeks past fertilization—a definition rejected by doctors, who define fetal age by the number of weeks past a woman’s last menstrual period. Because many contraceptives prevent implantation, but not fertilization, this definition was widely seen as a sneaky attack on contraception. The bill also defined a “woman” as “a female human being who is capable of becoming pregnant”—bad news for infertile and post-menopausal human beings who previously considered themselves women.