fetal pain

Texas, abortion, and the greatly missed level-head of Carl Sagan

Texas’ senate just passed a bill to ban all abortions prior to the 20th week of pregnancy, approximately four weeks earlier than the guideline set by Roe v. Wade. The bill gained momentum largely by way of a disputed claim that a fetus can feel pain as early as 20 weeks (see article on controversy here). Among other consequences, the new law, which requires a facility upgrade for clinics not meeting outlined surgical standards, will effectively shut down all but a few abortion clinics in the state (a state, by the way, with one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the country).

The bill has created quite an outburst across Texas and the U.S., with Senator Wendy Davis emerging as the outspoken hero of the “pro-choice” movement (she successfully thwarted the the bill’s first attempt at passage during a 13 hour filibuster).

All the hullabaloo prompted me to revisit Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan’s 1990 article in Parade Magazine, “Abortion: Is it possible to be both ‘pro-life’ and ‘pro-choice’?”, which is still the most thoughtful, level-headed discussion of the issue I have encountered. After reading, you may begin to see why defining the ability to feel pain as the metric for fetus viability stands on quite shaky moral ground.

I’ve reproduced the first paragraph here:

“The issue had been decided years ago. The court had chosen the middle ground. You’d think the fight was over. Instead, there are mass rallies, bombings and intimidation, murders of workers at abortion clinics, arrests, intense lobbying, legislative drama, Congressional hearings, Supreme Court decisions, major political parties almost defining themselves on the issue, and clerics threatening politicians with perdition. Partisans fling accusations of hypocrisy and murder. The intent of the Constitution and the will of God are equally invoked. Doubtful arguments are trotted out as certitudes. The contending factions call on science to bolster their positions. Families are divided, husbands and wives agree not to discuss it, old friends are no longer speaking. Politicians check the latest polls to discover the dictates of their consciences. Amid all the shouting, it is hard for the adversaries to hear one another. Opinions are polarized. Minds are closed . . . ”

FULL ARTICLE HERE: http://2think.org/abortion.shtml

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