Doctors to Appeals Court: Pre-Born Babies Feel Pain at 20 Weeks

pro-life prayer meeting
(Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)
A group of doctors is speaking out for life in Arizona as the battle rages there over abortion rights.

Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) this week filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit on behalf of a doctors group that supports an Arizona law restricting non-emergency abortions after 20 weeks.

Professor of Law Teresa Collett of the University of St. Thomas Law School filed the brief in Isaacson v. Horne on behalf of Doctors on Fetal Pain, an unincorporated association of physicians and medical researchers.

“Every innocent life deserves to be protected. Not only does this law protect children in the womb who experience horrific pain during a late-term abortion, it also protects mothers from the dangers and tremendous psychological consequences of late-term abortions,” says ADF senior counsel Steven H. Aden.

“The ACLU and the Center for Reproductive Rights, who filed this lawsuit, apparently don’t care about this. Instead, they prefer to pursue their own agenda. This brief is intended to educate the court and the public about the reality that babies feel pain during an abortion as early as 20 weeks into a pregnancy. That’s just one reason that Arizona’s law is entirely reasonable and constitutional.”

On Aug. 1, the 9th Circuit ruled to temporarily prevent implementation of Arizona H.B. 2036 while it considers the case. A district court found that “the unborn child has developed pain sensors all over its body by 20 weeks gestational age” and that there is concern for “the health of the pregnant woman” because the instance of complications is highest after this time.

According to the friend-of-the-court brief, the law “relies upon scientific evidence establishing the unborn child’s capacity to feel pain at 20 weeks gestation, and concludes that the acquisition of this capacity makes that child sufficiently like the rest of us to mark a tipping point—a tipping point at which it becomes reasonable for Arizona to restrict abortion.”

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