A May, 2019 Harvard CAPS/Harris poll found 29% of voters believe abortion should only be permitted up until the first trimester of pregnancy. 17% said it should be allowed until the second trimester. Only 8% said abortions should be permitted up until the third trimester, and 6 percent said the procedure should be allowed up until the birth of the child.1
In contradiction to the claim that the brain cortex is necessary to experience pain and suffering, decorticate individuals as well as animals lacking higher cortical structures obviously do feel pain. In fact, the human brain cortex does not fully mature until approximately 25 years of age, yet infants, children, and teenagers obviously can experience pain.2
The published scientific literature shows that unborn babies can experience pain at 20 weeks gestational age (20 weeks LMP, since Last Menstrual Period, the fetal age estimate used by most obstetricians) or earlier.3
Fetal surgeons recognize unborn babies as patients. A leading children’s hospital performed nearly 1,600 fetal surgeries between 1995 and June 2017. Perinatal medicine now treats unborn babies as young as 18 weeks for dozens of conditions. Pain medication for unborn patients is routinely administered as standard medical practice.4
Defenders of late-term abortion often claim that late-term abortions are “almost always” carried out in extreme circumstances — cases of severe fetal abnormality or danger to the mother’s life. However this is not the case. A 2013 study in the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute’s journal Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health found “data suggests that most women seeking later terminations are not doing so for reasons of fetal anomaly or life endangerment.”6 One of the study’s authors, Dr. Diana Greene Foster, is also cited in a 2018 report for the Congressional Research Service: abortions for fetal anomaly “make up a small minority of later abortion” and those for life endangerment are even harder to characterize.7
Micah Pickering was born at 20 weeks post-fertilization (22 weeks gestation). He weighed 1lb 6oz. And he was only 10 inches long—just a little bigger than a packet of M&Ms. His mother could legally have aborted him, but she wanted her son to have a chance at life. He spent 128 days in the NICU before going home. Today he is a normal 7-year old, with one exception: Micah is a lobbyist for life. He is the face of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, also known as “Micah’s Law.”
The Pain Capable Unborn Child Act has been dubbed “Micah’s Law” and would protect babies from abortion after 5 months, the age at which Micah was born. Currently, 20 states have laws prohibiting abortion after 5 months: 18 of these laws are Pain-Capable Laws. But though it has been introduced 3 times, Micah’s Law has not yet been passed on the federal level.