Are New Abortion Restrictions Relying on “Junk” Science?

Abortion activists are causing quite a stir about a recent Montana law that requires unborn babies to be anesthetized before any post-20-week abortion procedure. Activists claim this law is based on junk science:

But to state Sen. Fred Thomas, who carried the Montana fetal anesthesia bill, the new laws are about updated and accurate information, and about “old science,” which says a fetus can’t feel pain until the third trimester of pregnancy, versus “new doctors,” who have shown otherwise.

“The new doctors are saying, ‘Yeah, it’s there, it’s pain,’” Thomas said during a floor debate last week. “We ought to be stepping forward and saying, ‘Yes, if you’re going to perform surgery or abort that baby at 20 weeks, you should provide pain relief to this child.’”

A broad analysis of fetal pain studies published in the Journal of the American Medical Assn. in 2005 concluded that “evidence regarding the capacity for fetal pain is limited but indicates that fetal perception of pain is unlikely before the third trimester,” or about 27 weeks of pregnancy.

Okay. So we’re arguing about whether a human being sentenced to death for existing in an inconvenient circumstance should get some pain relief during his execution? That seems like a stupid debate. Abortion activists are right to think that this law has another motivation. If mothers know that their unborn babies feel pain, perhaps they will reconsider their decision to abort.

As for claims of “junk” science, that ball is roundly in the court of abortion activists. Forget about whether or not an unborn child feels pain before a certain time. What about whether or not and when the unborn baby is human? Does the baby become human at 24 or 27 weeks? Let’s assume that’s when the baby can feel pain. Does that mean the baby has a right to life then? “I hurt, therefore I am”? And would abortion activists agree to anesthesia for the baby then?

Really, this argument sounds like splitting hairs. Because it is. We shouldn’t even be arguing about this. We should be ending abortion. No science in the world can salve a guilty conscience or wash away the blood on our hands. This isn’t about junk science. It’s about junk morality.