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House Fails to Pass Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act of 2006

December 7, 2006
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Congressman Robert Aderholt (R-Haleyville) yesterday voted in favor of the Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act of 2006, a bill he co-sponsored earlier this year. The bill received majority support in the House, but failed to pass under rules requiring two-thirds support for passage. The final vote was 250-162.

H.R. 6099, The Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act, would require abortion providers to notify women who want to have an abortion 20 weeks after fertilization that the evidence suggests their unborn child feels pain and they may request anesthesia for their unborn child in order to reduce or eliminate the pain. This legislation would not require anesthesia and it specifically protects the doctor's right to inform the woman of any risks to her according to his or her own best medical judgment.

Said Congressman Aderholt, “The decision to abort a child has far reaching consequences that I believe the mother should be made aware of before undergoing such a procedure. This bill would take another step in helping them to understand what they are actually doing to their unborn child and the pain that it will cause.”

Studies show that fetuses respond to touch by 8 weeks gestation and respond to sound by 20 weeks. Testimony was offered to Congress that nerve endings in a developing child spread to all parts of the skin and tissue by the 20th week. Further, there is a large body of anatomical, behavioral and physiological evidence that unborn children can experience pain by 20 weeks, if not before.

“Women have the right to know the facts about the medical development of unborn children,” continued Congressman Aderholt. “They need to know that they have the option to minimize or eliminate the pain an unborn child would feel during an abortion. I’m disappointed by yesterday’s vote and hope that this bill will be re-introduced in the 110th Congress and passed then.”