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Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act of 2006

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC


UNBORN CHILD PAIN AWARENESS ACT OF 2006 -- (House of Representatives - December 06, 2006)

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Mr. PALLONE. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to H.R. 6099, the Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act of 2006. This bill mandates that a woman seeking an abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy be given a written brochure stating that research indicates that a fetus at that stage of development will feel pain during an abortion.

This bill also requires a doctor to offer the woman anesthesia for the fetus which she may either accept or decline.

Mr. Speaker, the problem with this legislation is that the medical and scientific community has yet to reach a consensus with regard to the issue of when and if a fetus feels pain. In fact, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, along with physicians who are experts in fetal anesthesia and fetal surgery, know of no legitimate scientific data or information that supports these views. Despite this, Congress has decided to play politics with women's health.

This legislation may put women at risk. There is no evidence to show the effects on a woman by providing anesthesia directly to a fetus during an abortion. Without proper medical studies, we have no way of knowing how such procedures will affect a woman's health at the time of the abortion or in the future.

Mr. Speaker, supporters of this bill will argue that it includes an assurance that doctors who disagree with materials contained within these mandated brochures may offer their own views to patients. But what good comes from a doctor handing their patient a brochure and then conveying opposition to what is inside it? Instead of helping patients, Congress is interfering with a doctor's best medical judgment as well as the doctor-patient relationship.

Mr. Speaker, clearly written in this case by anti-choice advocates, these brochures are biased and define an abortion as ``the process of being killed.'' Normally I would support legislation which aims to offer women as much information as possible with respect to their medical decisions. Ensuring that patients have access to all of the important and relevant medical information should always be a priority for Congress, but this bill plays politics with those goals. Instead, it provides mandated, misleading information to women without proper scientific knowledge.

I urge my colleagues to vote against this bill. I think it is ill-advised. I think it sets a bad precedent for the type of information that is provided to patients. There is absolutely no reason why this should be mandated.

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