Post-Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, Part One: Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act still the law in Texas and elsewhere

By Dave Andrusko

Carol-HB2-QuotereWe posted a number of stories yesterday–and will more today– about Monday’s abysmal Supreme Court ruling gutting two portions of the 2013 pro-life omnibus Texas law, HB 2. In this post, after a few words about the 5-3 decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, we will offer some thoughts based on the truism that our Movement always, always, always operates on multiple fronts.

For now, two components of one law have been ruled unconstitutional using the all-purpose eraser, the “undue burden” standard. Abortion clinics can be as filthy as they want, as indifferent as they want, too bad. Abortionists needn’t have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital–why should they when abortion is safer than crossing an intersection?

As we noted yesterday, media darling, pro-abortion Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg laid down her marker for any law that protects women from the likes of Kermit Gosnell: abortion is so risk-free, thus no law regulating clinics/abortionists can ever, ever be constitutional because they would be addressing a non-existent problem.

This is nonsense–dangerous nonsense–that future cases will expose.

Going all the way back to January 27, 2010, NRL News Today and its sister publication, NRL News, have published dozens and dozens and dozens of stories about a law that has been one of National Right to Life’s highest priorities–the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.

In that first post, we wrote about Nebraska Right to Life which had just introduced the bill, the first of its kind.

The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act is now the law in 14 states: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas [known as the the Preborn Pain Act], West Virginia and Wisconsin. Based on model legislation provided by National Right to Life, the law protects unborn children who are capable of experiencing great pain when being killed by dismemberment or other late abortion methods. An unborn child is capable of feeling pain by 20 weeks after fertilization and likely earlier.

This is hugely significant on at least four fronts.

#1. Fourteen is a lot of states, given the all-out media and abortion Industry onslaught. You and I can read stories from NRL News Today and go to www.nrlc.org/abortion/fetalpain and www.doctorsonfetalpain.com and be thoroughly equipped to persuasively make the argument that because an unborn child is unable to articulate his or her pain, science has proven the child’s capacity for perceiving pain indirectly by showing they have the hardware and by demonstrating that they actually respond to painful stimuli. But the average citizen is not aware of the abundance of evidence.

#2. It is very difficult to erase from your mind (unless you make your money killing unborn babies) an image of a baby who is capable of experiencing pain, being torn apart, limb by limb. Pro-abortionists dismiss the research–what else can they do?

I remember reporting on the testimony of Margaret A. Brinley, a biomedical scientist with a specialty in neuroscience, before a South Carolina legislative panel. She laid out how research clearly demonstrates changes in “catecholamine levels” within the baby’s blood during periods of stress such as prenatal surgery. This is known to occur before 20 weeks.

Dr. Brinley explained the function of the thalamus for pain perception and said it is possible that the unborn child feels pain more intensely than an adult.

Dr. Brinley testified that when doing experiments on rats, she was required to provide specific information about how the animal would be protected from pain.

“Think about the difference between a rat and a human being,” she said, urging the panel members to “always err on the side of humanity.”

#3. Mary Spaulding Balch, JD, is the director of National Right to Life’s Department of State Legislation. She has written and testified and explained countless times that abortion legislation must not forget the unborn child. “Basic compassion for human life demands that pain-capable legislation be enacted all over the country,” Balch told NRL News Today.

When Jennifer Popik, JD, from NRLC’s Robert Powell Center for Medical Ethics, went to West Virginia to testify about their then-proposed law, she said, “Let’s be clear — this is a very developed child.” Popik added, “This is a child the medical community sees as a second patient, and this is a child who can feel pain.” And

#4. The underlying foundational message of our Movement is that we don’t discriminate against the littlest Americans because they are powerless. On the contrary, it is because they are powerless that they have a particularly compelling call on our mercies and our compassion.

Add to that the truth that when a baby is developed enough to experience pain, it is horrible beyond words to make her endure suffering beyond our imagination.

For now, two components of one law in Texas have been ruled unconstitutional using the all-purpose eraser, the “undue burden” standard. (And today, the Supreme Court upheld two court decisions striking down the admitting privilege laws in Wisconsin and Mississippi.) Consequently abortion clinics can be as filthy as they want, as indifferent as they want, too bad. Abortionists needn’t have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital–why should they when abortion is safer than crossing an intersection?

Editor’s note. If you want to peruse stories all day long, go directly to nationalrighttolifenews.org and/or follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/daveha