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NRLC Update on Wednesday House Abortion Vote

U.S. House of Representatives to vote Wednesday, December 6, on the Unborn Child Awareness Act


Contact: Douglas Johnson, National Right to Life Committee Federal Legislation Department, 202-626-8820


WASHINGTON, Dec. 4 /Christian Newswire/ -- This is an update from the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), issued Monday, December 4, 2006, at 12:30 PM EST.  For further information on this issue, contact the NRLC Federal Legislation Department at 202-626-8820 or Legfederal@aol.com


The U.S. House of Representatives will vote on the Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act (H.R. 6099) on the morning of Wednesday, December 6, 2006.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), will be  considered under a fast-track procedure ("suspension of the rules"), under which no amendments will be considered, and a two-thirds vote is required for passage.
In a press release issued December 1, Senator Sam Brownback (R-Ks.) said, "I encourage my colleagues in the House of Representatives to pass the Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act next week and if they do, I intend to seek unanimous consent that the Senate take up and pass this critical piece of legislation."
Here are some links to resources on this issue that you may find useful:


  • An NRLC letter to House members (November 27) explaining the legislation and urging support, here.

  • A recent statement by the National Abortion Federation, urging House members to oppose the legislation, here.  The National Abortion Federation is an association of abortionists.

  • A 2005 statement by NARAL stating that the organization "does not intend to oppose" the Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act, here.

  • An NRLC factsheet summarizing the science on fetal pain, here (PDF file).

  • An NRLC memo rebutting an article on fetal pain published by JAMA in August 2005, here.  The JAMA article, often cited by opponents of the bill, claimed that available research suggests that the human fetus does not experience pain until about 29 weeks.  As the NRLC memo and the linked documents demonstrate, the JAMA paper has been contradicted by some highly credentialed authorities in the field, and is inconsistent with longstanding observations and treatment of newborns who survive long-term after being born as early as 23 weeks.  Moreover, the lead author of the JAMA article, a medical student, was previously an attorney for NARAL, and one of the other authors is a longtime activist who runs the largest abortion clinic in San Francisco, performs hundreds of late abortions every year, and has been a leading critic of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act.  According to an article by the medical writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer, who brought these associations to the attention of the JAMA editor after JAMA published the paper, "JAMA editor-in-chief Catherine D. DeAngelis said she was unaware of this, and acknowledged it might create an appearance of bias that could hurt the journal's credibility. 'This is the first I've heard about it,' she said. 'We ask them to reveal any conflict of interest. I would have published' the disclosure if it had been made.")

  • Comment by Dr. Sanjay Gupta, founder of the American Pain Association, on faulty premises in the 2005 JAMA article, here.

For further information on this issue, contact the NRLC Federal Legislation Department at 202-626-8820 or Legfederal@aol.com, or visit the NRLC website section devoted to documentation regarding the pain of unborn children, here