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It Finally Came to Texas...The First Fetal Pain Bill Has Been Filed

Well, it finally happened. We all knew it would, but here it actually is in written, legislative form. On March 5, Reps. Jodie Laubenberg (R-Parker) and Jeff Leach (R-Plano) drafted HB 2374 which would legally prohibit abortions after 20 weeks. For some reason, anti-abortion activists and conservative lawmakers have handpicked the 20-week milestone as the time when fetuses feel pain.

However, this illustrious idea of fetal pain is a medical myth. There has been too much of a dispute within the medical community for the Texas legislature to decide definitively when a fetus can feel pain. A study conducted by University College London concluded that babies "feel pain around a woman's 35th week of pregnancy, about two to four weeks before delivery." When the study was released, only six states had "fetal pain" bills.

"Babies can distinguish painful stimuli as different from general touch from around 35 to 37 weeks gestation -- just before an infant would normally be born," Lorenzo Fabrizi, lead author of the study, said in a statement.

Despite scientific fact, the bill still "alleges that substantial medical evidence recognizes that an that an unborn child is capable of experiencing pain by not later than 20 weeks after fertilization." Again, this assertion is just conservative folklore.

Currently, women in Texas can get an abortion up until 27 weeks. It is illegal for women to obtain an abortion in the third trimester. In Texas, abortions are only allowed if there is immient danger to the health or life of the mother. Also, an abortion can be legally obtained if there are fetal abnormalities present. This proposed law is utterly redundant. Why do lawmakers feel the need to cut it from 27 to 20 weeks?

If passed, Texas will officially become the 10th state to enact a "fetal pain" bill in the US. Our esteemed governor has vowed to "make abortion, at any stage, a thing of the past." Instead of just illegally H-bombing Roe v. Wade, Perry and his fellow conservative legislators have said there is a compelling state interest in restricting abortion. Essentially, Perry is bouncing around on every Texan woman's uterus and marking it as territory of the state legislature.

Perry and Texas Republicans have proved time and time again that they don't actually care what kind of life these "saved" babies will lead. Forget about basic education. Forget about affordable, quality healthcare. Their parents can figure that out for themselves...somehow. 

Heather Busby, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, said "No politican can possibly decide what is best for a woman and her family in every circumstance. It is especially outrageous to take options away from women who could be in tragic situations."