In the state of Nebraska, the Abortion Pain Prevention Act has just become law. Celebrations have ensued not only in the state but among pro-life, pro-family leaders at the national level.
The subject of fetal pain, and the manner in which political operatives within the pro-life movement have handled it, have always been a source of interest and sorrow for me. Now is the perfect time to examine the so-called “fetal pain” proposition from a perspective that is not often discussed—the perspective of the preborn child.
First of all, this human being who is growing within his mother does feel pain. We have known this since the early days of the pro-life movement when Bernard N. Nathanson, M.D., created the video, The Silent Scream
, in 1984. The film is a chilling presentation of how gruesome and heinous the act of abortion truly is. The narration by Dr. Nathanson is so matter-of-fact and clinical that one is shocked into realizing immediately that this man—who was an abortionist and oversaw the killing of thousands—is now telling the world the truth. The video shows a 12-week-old preborn child, seen via ultrasound, who does all he physically can to escape the needle that is destined to kill him.
The gut wrenching truth presented in this video was applauded by then President Ronald Reagan
who hosted a showing at the White House. Reagan was grateful for Dr. Nathanson’s effort to finally show the world the truth about what abortion does to the child.
Writer Fitz Barringer described
Nathanson’s video this way,
As the suction device enters the womb, for instance, the child, clearly in fear for his life, begins to move violently away from the instrument. After watching the horrific image for several seconds, Nathanson remarks, “There is no question; this child senses the most mortal threat imaginable.”
When the suction device begins to tear the child apart, Nathanson pauses the video and points to the child’s open mouth. “Now we can discern the chilling ‘silent scream’ on the face of this child, who is now facing eminent extinction,” he says.
Today, by contrast, Nebraska’s Abortion Pain Prevention Act states
, “At least by twenty weeks after fertilization, an unborn child has the physical structures necessary to experience pain …”
So what happened to those eight weeks between what we knew in 1984 and what today is the state law in Nebraska? I have no idea, but what I do know is that the bill is supported, at least in part, because some pro-life strategists argue
that pro-abortion organizations “can’t risk taking Nebraska’s fetal pain ban all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, for fear that the new line of demarcation for abortion under Roe
will be pain instead of viability…”
This statement represents the crux of the problem. It occurs to me that pro-life strategists have already moved the line from the 12 weeks established by Dr. Nathanson to 20 weeks, and are now arguing that some sort of a “line of demarcation” is a goal. Not so!
Pro-life people have worked in the trenches for more than thirty-five years to achieve an end to the killing, not a “line of demarcation” that allegedly intimidates the pro-aborts. They must be laughing in their beer at this!
Preborn babies are human beings regardless of their age, regardless of their nerve endings, regardless of lines of demarcation. If the pro-life movement could unite behind the simple truth that a preborn baby is a baby from the beginning of his biological development, everyone could stop all the posturing and get to work.
What these babies need is total protection, not phony victories that establish lines beyond which people may not be killed—unless, of course, they are anesthetized first.
Listen to their cries, their screams, and imagine their tears. How can we not do everything within our power to save each and every one of them?