Protect pain-capable unborn children Print
Written by Mary Uhler   
Thursday, Jun. 04, 2015 -- 12:00 AM

Our society today seems to be obsessed with controlling pain. Most people experiencing pain of any kind run for the nearest bottle of pain-relieving pills to stop their discomfort.

There are also people who protest the supposed pain felt by animals in scientific research (there is disagreement over how much pain animals actually feel during experiments). And there are those who don’t like farm animals to be raised in environments which cause them pain and distress.

Unborn babies’ pain

But where is the outcry about the pain experienced by unborn babies during an abortion procedure? We don’t hear much about their pain.

Yet, there is growing medical evidence that unborn children do feel pain at 20 weeks or more of gestation. It’s not surprising that a child dismembered in the womb would feel pain.

That’s why Wisconsin Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) and Representative Jesse Kremer (R-Kewaskum) have introduced companion bills in the state Legislature — Senate Bill 179 and Assembly Bill 237 —known as the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. The legislation would prohibit abortions in Wisconsin at or after 20 weeks of gestation, except in a medical emergency.

Abortions at and after 20 weeks are normally performed by dilation and evacuation (D&E). The cervix is dilated and the child is dismembered in the womb.

In a legislative alert, the Wisconsin Catholic Conference (WCC) explained that the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act also requires that when the unborn child is considered capable of experiencing pain and the pregnant woman is undergoing a medical emergency, the physician, while addressing the mother’s medical needs, must terminate the pregnancy in the manner that, in reasonable medical judgment, provides the best opportunity for the unborn child to survive.

The legislation requires that the woman be orally informed of and provided with written materials on the availability of perinatal hospice, in addition to existing materials on agencies and services that provide assistance to pregnant and parenting women (i.e., government assistance, sexual assault and domestic abuse resources, adoption agencies, etc.).

Both bills were scheduled to receive a public hearing at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, June 2, before a joint meeting of the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services and the Assembly Committee on Health in Room 417 North (GAR Hall) of the State Capitol. The hearing is expected to take all day.

Readers are encouraged to call their legislators immediately, urging them to support the bills.

Catholic bishops’ position

The Catholic bishops of Wisconsin strongly support Senate Bill 179 and Assembly Bill 237. The WCC alert said, “All human life is sacred and the role of government is to protect the life and liberty of all human beings, from conception until natural death.  Unborn children afflicted with a severe abnormality or fatal condition are as deserving of love and care as the rest of us.”

Action requested

The Wisconsin Catholic Conference encourages citizens to take action by immediately contacting their state senator and representative and urging them to pass Senate Bill 179 and Assembly Bill 237.  Remind them that:

• All human life is sacred and the role of government is to protect the life and liberty of all human beings, from conception until natural death.

• Fetal pain is real and confirms the humanity of the unborn.

• Mothers, fathers, and children deserve better than abortion. They deserve the support of the community, especially when they face difficult circumstances.

• Unborn children diagnosed with a disability or fatal anomaly need protection not elimination.

To contact your state senator and representative, visit the Wisconsin State Legislature website at and click on “Find My Legislators” or call the State Legislative Hotline at 1-800-362-9472.