While they still can, House Republicans are looking at scheduling a vote next week on a fetal pain abortion bill in a parting shot at incoming majority Democrats and a last bid for loyalty from the GOP’s base of social conservatives.
The bill, by Rep. Chris Smith, R-New Jersey, defines a 20-week-old fetus as a “pain-capable unborn child” — a highly controversial threshold among scientists. It also directs the Health and Human Services Department to develop a brochure stating “that there is substantial evidence that the process of being killed in an abortion will cause the unborn child pain.”
When fetuses can feel pain — versus a reflexive drawing back from stimuli — has been the subject of heated debate. Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco last year reviewed dozens of studies and medical reports and said that fetuses likely are incapable of feeling pain until around the seventh month of pregnancy, when they are about 28 weeks old.
Who cares if the science actually supports it–just sign it into law and voila, it’s a fact! This is a whole new chapter in the Republican War on Science–legislate it instead of actually *doing* it, period. Impressive.