By Texas Right to Life
Testimony on Texas Right to Life’s top priority legislation for 2013–House Bill 2364: The Preborn Pain Bill– was heard in the House State Affairs Committee. Multiple Pro-Life medical and legal experts demonstrated the need for and defended the bill against one of the most pro-abortion members of the Texas House of Representatives.
The bill establishes a compelling state interest in protecting the lives of babies who feel pain, and therefore, prohibits elective abortions at twenty weeks post-fertilization. Abortion activists have spun themselves into a frenzy about this measure ever since Governor Rick Perry announced support of the bill in a December press conference.
Representative Jodie Laubenberg (R-Parker) is the House sponsor, and many of her colleagues have added their names as co-authors. One such co-author is Representative Greg Bonnen, M.D., a neurosurgeon representing Friendswood. Dr. Bonnen has used his expertise to explain to other elected officials on both sides of the issue that preborn children experience pain by 20 weeks post-fertilization.
The State Affairs Committee is where most Pro-Life related bills are referred, and where Jessica Farrar (D-Houston) never misses an opportunity to demonstrate her unwavering commitment to the slaughter of innocent, unborn children. Farrar tried to discredit the peer-reviewed scientific studies on fetal pain, relying on a 2005 survey from the Journal of American Medical Association despite the fact that the article has been discredited. Rep. Laubenberg presented Farrar with an entire list of peer-reviewed studies that confirm that these preborn Texans indeed experience pain.
One of the star expert witnesses, Dr. Paul Liu, a pediatric anesthesiologist, astutely and graciously dismantled Farrar’s claims by explaining that the science is indeed accurate. Dr. Liu detailed the necessary physiological and neurological development and function involved in pain, thereby substantiating the literature on pain. He also spoke from his own personal experience from seeing the response of preborn children to sensation and pain.
“Generally, it is accepted that all the pain receptors are present at 20 weeks… You can actually see some of these infants cry in the ultrasound, you’ll see them withdraw, and you’ll see their heart rate and blood pressure go up. This is why during fetal surgery they provide fetal anesthesia. They also see that long term, the fetuses that aren’t given anesthesia don’t do as well as the ones that are provided anesthesia.”
Dr. Liu also exposed the JAMA survey’s lead authors’ conflict of interest with the abortion industry. One was the director of the largest abortion clinic in San Francisco, and another author had served as an attorney for NARAL.
With the help of Texas Hospital Association, Representative Farrar pushed to include language allowing the abortion of children with fetal disabilities and genetic abnormalities. Laubenberg aptly responded that a child with abnormalities still feels pain and should be granted every protection from elective abortion afforded to every other child.
The testimony from NARAL Pro-Choice Texas focused on the constitutionality of the bill, and whether the bill violated Roe v. Wade. Several credentialed attorneys addressed the constitutional framework and how the bill would stand up to Roe based on later Supreme Court opinions.
The Texas Preborn Pain Bill was left pending in the House State Affairs Committee, which is expected to vote on this vital Pro-Life legislation this week.