In 2013 Salon ran a piece titled “Fetal pain is a lie: How phony science took over the abortion debate.”   That same phony science will be coming to Ohio soon.

“Close to a dozen state legislatures across the country have passed laws banning abortion at 20 weeks,” wrote Salon’s Katie McDonough two years ago. “Most of these restrictions are given grave-sounding titles like the ‘Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.”

The article went on to thoroughly debunk the whole concept.  “The fetus at 20 weeks can’t actually feel anything at all. Which is to say, the fundamental justification for these laws is a really big, really popular lie.”

Despite the debunking, Republican State Reps Kristina Roegner and Bob Cupp are planning to introduce their “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection” bill in the Ohio House in the next few weeks.  Their co-sponsor letter, included below, repeats many of the biggest lies examined in the Salon piece.


To: All House Members
From: Representative Kristina Roegner and Representative Bob Cupp
Date: February 10th, 2015
Re: Co-Sponsor Request – Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection

In the near future, we will introduce legislation which would prohibit abortions in Ohio at the point in pregnancy when an unborn child can feel pain. Some experts say this occurs as early as 8 ½ weeks of gestation, and most medical and scientific evidence places this developmental milestone with certainty at no later than 20 weeks of gestation.

A few facts to consider:
· At 6-7 weeks of gestation: the pain receptors first appear in baby’s body.

  • At 8 weeks of gestation: the baby responds to touch.
  • At 12 weeks: the baby responds to external stimuli – if the mother’s abdomen is poked he will try to wriggle away.
  • At 16 weeks: the arms are long enough that the hands grasp each other if they touch and the retinas of the eyes have become sensitive to light… she is aware of bright light from outside her mother’s abdominal wall.
  • At 20 weeks: the baby can hear and respond to sounds from outside the uterus. The pain receptors are present throughout the baby’s body. The baby can feel pain.

This is why, during prenatal surgery, fetal anesthesia is routinely administered.

Our legislation would prohibit abortions after 20 weeks, unless the mother’s life is in danger. This legislation is a critical piece of the strategy to end abortion. It challenges one of the pillars of Roe v. Wade, adding an additional compelling interest, separate and independent from the viability standard: the capacity to feel pain, an intrinsic measure, which is a truly significant milestone in human development.

It is also noteworthy that the US is only one of seven countries in the world, along with North Korea and China, that allows abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. In fact, in 2013 in Ohio alone there were over 300 abortions after 19 weeks of gestation. It is time to end this atrocity. Each one of those lives matters and deserves to be protected from the pain of abortion.

There is also significant public support for this legislation. A November 2014 Quinnipiac poll demonstrated that 60 percent of Americans support the legislation. (Women and Millennials support the legislation by double digits women 59-35% and Millennials 57-38 %)

Finally, this legislation also has a “trigger clause” which will immediately prohibit ALL abortions except those to save the mother’s life, but it will not take effect until the US Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. (It is a common misconception that once Roe is overturned, abortion will become illegal in the US. However, the overturning of Roe would in reality just leave the decision up to the States. This will serve as a pro-active, pro-life measure for Ohio.)

This legislation has the full support of Ohio Right to Life.