FETAL PAIN IN THE ASS. As expected, the House rejected the ridiculous fetal pain bill, which would have required abortion providers to inform women that fetuses are capable of feeling pain, and offer the option of fetal anesthesia.

The legislation would have applied to any woman carrying a fetus "20 weeks or more after fertilization." As Broadsheet pointed out, defining the age of a fetus by the weeks past fertilization, rather than by the woman's last menstrual period (as every ob/gyn in the country does) was a back-door attack on hormonal contraceptives, many of which don't prevent fertilization, only implantation. To boot, research shows fetuses can probably only feel pain beginning at 28 weeks, at which point abortion is illegal, anyway.

While most pro-choice groups opposed the fetal pain bill, NARAL took a "neutral" stance, saying it was in favor of women having "all the information" about fetal anesthesia options. Apparently they're a-OK with the fact that, in this case, the information is inaccurate and misleading. It's also disappointing that NARAL failed to note this bill considered a fertilized egg the same thing as a developing fetus. They should have opposed this legislation on the basis of that alone, given that they're a staunchly pro-contraception organization.

Happily, the legislation isn't likely to come up again next session.

--Ann Friedman

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