Missouri Right to Life
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Education, legislating, and activating citizens in the cause of life

April 17, 2018


Missouri Right to Life strongly supports HB 1266, known as the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.  Attached you will find multiple testimonies given by physicians from other states who have testified on similar language as HB 1266.

Some of the key points in this attached testimony pointing out the scientific facts of fetal pain capabilities of a baby at 20 weeks gestation:

Dr. Ferdinand F. Salvacion, MD – Medical Director, Pain Management Program, Memorial Medical Center; Associate Professor of Anesthesiology, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine:

“Development of neural elements required for processing perception of pain occurs relatively early in fetal development.  The scientific literature has documented the presence of fully-functioning sensory receptors in the skin around the mouth of the fetus at 6 weeks gestational age.  By 20 weeks, pain receptors have appeared throughout the body.  Second order neurons in the spinal cord begin to develop from 10 to 30 weeks gestational age.  The cerebral cortex starts to form at about 8-10 weeks gestational age.  The number of cortical neurons increases by 10 times from 12 to 28 weeks gestational age.  Connections between the thalamus and cortex begin to appear as early as 20 weeks gestational age.  The structures required for pain perception are present in the fetus by 20 weeks gestational age.”

“Based on the scientific evidence, it is my opinion that the human fetus possesses the capacity to experience pain as early as 20 weeks gestational age, and the pain perceived is possibly more intense than that perceived by mature newborns.  It is also my opinion that the fetus would be subjected to intense, excruciating pain, occurring prior to fetal demise, from abortion procedures used in the second and third trimesters.”

Dr. Tom Grissom, MD – Medical Director, Advanced Pain Centers of Alaska; Clinical Instructor University of Washington School of Medicine Division of Pain Medicine:

“Specialized nerve endings involved in pain transmission are seen as early as 7 weeks and are found throughout all organs by 20 weeks gestation.  …all the elements for the perception of pain are present by 20 weeks gestation.”

“The recognition of pain perception in the preterm infant and fetus has led to changes in anesthesia standards with improved surgical outcomes.  There is no doubt that the fetus at 20 weeks gestation is capable of feeling pain as it relates to abortive procedures regardless of the technique employed.”

Dr. Paul Liu, Board Certified in Pediatrics, Pediatric Critical Care Medicine, and Anesthesiology; Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Arizona College of Medicine, Tucson, AZ:

“A newborn can’t tell us, “I hurt, you poked me there.”  What he does instead is he withdraws his limb, he cries, if you measure heart rate, that goes up; if you measure his blood pressure, that goes up.  If you do extensive blood testing you’ll see that all these stress hormones go way up, because he feels pain.  If you do that to a fetus in utero, and you’ve heard that said, that even on an ultrasound as they do intra uterine sampling of blood and things like that, and they actual get the needle and poke the little critter, he feels the same thing.”

“….the JAMA article from 2005, that says that basically neonates cannot feel pain up until about 29 weeks gestation.  …..is very poorly written.  And as one looks at this article, you’ll find that there is actually a conflict of interest.  One of the significant authors is a director of an abortion clinic in San Francisco.”

Dr. William Polzin, M.D. – Director, Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Good Samaritan Hospital, Cincinnati, Ohio; Associate Director of the Fetal Care Center, Cincinnati, Ohio; Medical Director of Healthy Beginnings, Inc.

Regarding Dr. Polzin’s testimony on a Kansas bill similar to HB 1266:  “…is an accurately worded bill that lays a basis to a reasonable description of why pain is, in fact, recognized by the fetus despite its inability to articulate the degree of pain.  The pain can be registered through physiologic measurements such as heart rate and reactive movements.”

Dr. Colleen A. Malloy, MD – Assistant Professor, Division of Neonatology/Department of Pediatrics, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine Before the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Committee on the Judiciary, U.S. House of Representatives:

“In the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, we can witness first-hand the change in vital signs associated with pain.  When procedures such as IV placement or chest tube insertion are performed on neonates at 20 weeks post-fertilization age and above, the response is similar to those seen in older infants or children.  With the advent of ultrasound including real-time ultrasound, we know that even at 8 weeks post fertilization, the fetus makes movements in response to stimuli.  At 20 weeks post-fertilization, the fetus responds to sound, as mothers will commonly report increased fetal movement in response to music, sirens, or alarms.”

Scientific facts show us that babies feel pain during an abortion at 20 weeks gestation.  Missouri Right to Life urges this committee to pass HB 1266 and stop abortions at 20 weeks gestation.

Click here to view the full testimony from each physician.





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