Wednesday, June 10, 2009

pain of the unborn

The Pain of the Unborn
Note: This commentary was delivered by Prison Fellowship President Mark Earley.
Warning: The following commentary includes graphic descriptions that may not be suitable for children or sensitive readers.
Undoubtedly many of the great evils of our times have been committed because the cries of the victims were not heard—not heard by those who sat by, comfortably ignorant of the horrors around them. In early nineteenth-century England, few citizens had any real understanding that the lump of sugar they dropped in their afternoon tea was made at the high price of human bondage. The screams of men and women branded or whipped on West Indies sugar plantations were not heard in the fashionable parlors of England. Not until, that is, the great Christian statesman William Wilberforce launched his crusade against the slave trade.
Today, some two hundred years later, there are victims whose agony our ears will never hear. These are the unborn victims of abortion.
While the unborn do not have a voice to scream, science tells us that by twenty weeks a child in the womb is capable of feeling pain. Dr. Sunny Anand, director of the Pain Neurobiology Laboratory at Arkansas Children’s Hospital Research Institute, testified before Congress and said: “The pain perceived by a fetus is possibly more intense than that perceived by term newborns or older children . . . the highest density of pain receptors per square inch of skin in human development occurs in utero from twenty to thirty weeks gestation.” Sobering testimony.
To make matters worse, the biological mechanisms that inhibit the experience of pain do not begin to develop until weeks thirty to thirty-two.
Yet ironically, an unborn child has less legal protection from feeling pain than commercial livestock. In a slaughterhouse, a method of slaughter is deemed legally humane only if, as the hundred-year-old law states, “all animals are rendered insensible to pain . . . ” By contrast, D&E abortions, performed as late as twenty-four weeks, involve the dismemberment of the unborn child by a pair of sharp metal forceps. Instillation methods of abortion replace up to one cup of amniotic fluid with concentrated salt solution, which the unborn child inhales as the salt burns his or her skin. The child lives in this condition up to an hour.
These things are uncomfortable to hear and to speak about. That is precisely the point. We should not be comfortable in a society where such things exist and where we have the power to influence change. The Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act is scheduled to be re-introduced into this Congress. This legislation would require that women seeking abortions are fully informed of the pain that their unborn baby feels when he or she is aborted twenty weeks or more after fertilization. If that knowledge does not deter the mother in what has come to be reduced to a mere “choice,” she must be offered the opportunity to give the unborn child drugs to ease his or her pain.
Pro-abortion advocates dreadfully fear this legislation. It brings to light the difficult questions they do not want to confront, like why livestock have more rights than an unborn child. Questions like these, like the cries of victims, are hard to forget once they have shaken us from the comfort of our parlor chairs.
Take Action
Urge your senators and representative in the newly elected 110th Congress to introduce, co-sign, and vote for the Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act. The Capitol switchboard is 202-224-3121.
Today's BreakPoint Offer
Right to Know: An Intellectually Honest Look at the Abortion Debate (booklet from Stand to Reason).
For Further Reading and Information
Catherine Claire, “The Pain of the Unborn,” The Point, 30 November 2006.
Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act Loses Vote in House,” Catholic News Agency, 7 December 2006.
Joey Depew, “Child Pain Awareness Act Deserved Notice, Got None,” Chillicothe Gazette, 3 January 2007.
Lynn Vincent, “State Skirmishes: Abortion,” World, 11 January 2007.
BreakPoint Commentary No. 040511, “The Truth Comes Out: The Partial-Birth Abortion Trials.”
BreakPoint Commentary No. 070122, “A Visual Apologetic for Life: In the Womb.”
Scott Klusendorf, Pro-Life 101: A Step-by-Step Guide to Making Your Case Persuasively (Stand to Reason Press, 2002).
Erika Bacchiochi, ed., The Cost of ‘Choice’: Women Evaluate the Impact of Abortion (Encounter, 2004).

No comments:

Post a Comment

Let me know what you think. I appriciate feedback.