*This map is current as of August 2019.
The entire paper may be viewed as a pdf here: On-Point-34_Legislative-and-Litigation-Overview-of-Five-Month-Abortion-Laws-Enacted-Before-and-After-2010_Final This paper sets out legislative and litigation information involving state laws that prohibit abortion at 20 weeks of pregnancy, roughly five months or more than halfway through pregnancy. Summary Since January 2010, twenty-one states have enacted statutes prohibiting abortion at 20 […]
The following is a compilation of public stories shared by families who were affected by a prenatal diagnosis of a lethal or non-lethal fetal anomaly or very premature birth.
The following are papers published by the Charlotte Lozier Institute in the On Point or American Reports Series on issues involving 20-week or five-month abortion laws.
On May 13, the United States House of Representatives passed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. This fact sheet explains the science of fetal pain.
This fact sheet outlines the various responses to a “poor prenatal diagnosis” for a fetal abnormality, noting especially recent medical advances well as the life-affirming option for perinatal hospice.
This map shows the states that have passed legislation limiting abortion based on the unborn child’s ability to feel pain by 20 weeks.
Kristi Burton Brown, J.D., is an attorney focusing on First Amendment and sanctity of life issues. In this interview, she discusses the legal defensibility and value of pain-capable abortion prohibitions, as well as fetal disposition and laws governing that practice.
Missouri HB 908 would prohibit abortions after the point at which unborn children are capable of feeling pain. Kristi Burton Brown, J.D., submitted the following written testimony in support of HB 908.
Sheila Page, D.O., is board certified in Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine and Osteopathic Manipulative Therapy, and treats a wide spectrum of patients from the newborn to the elderly, including patients with irreversible and terminal illness. Dr. Page has a special interest in children with disabilities, particularly those whose burden of care is difficult and who have been given little hope for a better quality of life. In this interview, she discusses palliative care and the science of fetal pain.
On March 15, 2016, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act and the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act – historic legislation to stop abortion more than halfway through pregnancy and strengthen equal protection measures for babies born alive after a failed abortion.
Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI) associate scholar Angelina Baglini Nguyen, J.D. testified as an expert witness on the United States’ permissiveness on abortion limits in comparison to international abortion norms as well as the constitutionality of 20-week abortion limits based on fetal pain.
This Tuesday, the Ohio House Committee on Community and Family Advancement held a hearing on SB 127, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI) associate scholars Anna Higgins, J.D., an attorney and legal researcher, and Sheila Page, D.O., an osteopathic physician, testified in support of these bills. CLI welcomed both women as recent additions to the associate scholar team in September.
On Wednesday, Anna Higgins also testified in support of SB 214, a bill that would defund Planned Parenthood by way of “ensur[ing] state/certain federal funds [are] not used for nontherapeutic abortions.”
On June 17, 2015, the Ohio Senate Health and Human Services Committee held a hearing on S.B. 127, the state’s Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. Among the experts testifying in support of the bill were Dr. Sheila Page, D.O., an osteopathic physician, board certified in Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine and Angelina Baglini Nguyen, J.D., a legal expert and Associate Scholar of the Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI). CLI thanks both Dr. Sheila Page and Angelina B. Nguyen for their permission to reprint the full text of their testimonies here. In addition, CLI’s Vice President and Research Director, Dr. David A. Prentice, Ph.D., submitted the testimony below in writing.
On May 12, 2015, David A. Prentice, Ph.D., Vice President and Research Director of the Charlotte Lozier Institute, was invited to speak on the science of fetal pain on Points of View radio talk show. On May 13, 2015 the United States House of Representatives passed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.
The full transcript is here.
Professor Randy Beck is the Justice Thomas O. Marshall Chair of Constitutional Law at the University of Georgia School of Law. He has authored a new article discussing the constitutionality of five-month abortion laws. The article is not yet published in a journal but has been posted on the Social Science Research Network (SSRN) with a date of March 2, 2015.
The article is titled “Fetal Viability and Twenty-Week Abortion Statutes.” According to the abstract, the article “advances four arguments for the constitutionality of a 20-week statute, including three based on current case law or minor modifications to current case law.”
This week, an innovative study conducted by an Oxford University team revealed that newborn infants experience pain like adults. The researchers compared newborn and adult brain scans taken after administering mild pencil point-like pricks on the soles of the participants’ feet. The results showed that 18 of the 20 examined brain regions which were active in adults feeling pain were also active for the newborns. The study also found one major difference, though – the newborns were much more sensitive to pain than the adults.
The subject of fetal pain is and has been both a controversial and compelling aspect of the debate surrounding abortion. Whether a child in the womb can feel pain and at what stage raises many ethical issues and, for many, introduces another source of uncertainty into personal views on the matter of abortion. With advances in modern science and ongoing research, it is becoming more apparent that the unborn child can feel pain by 20 weeks, i.e., five months, or even earlier in the pregnancy.
This January, an extensively researched document on the science of fetal pain was published by the Family Research Council (FRC). The report cites more than 30 scientific studies, testimonies, medical evidence, and real-life experiences in its exposition of the science of fetal pain as the weeks advance post-fertilization.
The issue of late-term abortion is among the most agonizing and controversial areas within the larger, contentious debate on the morality and legality of abortion. To begin with, by the 20th week or fifth month of pregnancy, the fetus is clearly recognizable as a neonate and she is routinely described on professional medical websites in terms that stress her individuality and humanity; in addition, the methods used to terminate fetal life after five months are particularly grim and are often cited by abortion practitioners themselves in ways that indicate their ethical or aesthetic revulsion.
Of interest to the medical, moral, sociological, and political issues surrounding late-term abortion is the question of why women seek abortion after twenty weeks gestation. Any data considered to answer this question must be examined carefully for limitations. However, a greater understanding of the reasons why women choose these late-term procedures is valuable to those who seek to offer alternative, compassionate options.
Five-month abortion laws restrict abortion at 20 weeks of pregnancy—when an unborn child can feel pain from abortion. Opponents of five-month abortion laws argue they violate the “viability rule” created by the U.S. Supreme Court. The viability rule provides that government “may not prohibit any woman from making the ultimate decision to terminate her pregnancy before viability.” In most cases viability will occur after 20 weeks of pregnancy. However, the viability rule is unworkable, arbitrary, unjust, poorly reasoned, inadequate, and extreme. The viability rule cannot be justified, especially as applied to five-month laws. In a challenge to a five-month law it is reasonable to conclude that the Court might abandon the viability rule altogether or not apply it to five-month laws.
The Subcommittee on the Constitution of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee recently held a hearing on legislation that would ban abortions in the District of Columbia after 20 weeks fetal gestation, based on the ability of the fetus to experience pain at that point and beyond.