In Minnesota, the state Senate Health and Human Services Committee passed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act that would prohibit women from obtaining abortions after 20 weeks gestation period even through medical evidence does not support the claim of fetal pain. The bill, introduced by Senator Gretchen Hoffman (R-Vergas), makes no exceptions for cases of rape or incest, although it would permit a woman to obtain an abortion in cases when her life is endangered.
Linnea House, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota told Minnesota Public Radio, “Women facing difficult and sometimes tragic complications in their pregnancies need to be able to make the best decision for this based on their medical condition, the recommendation of their doctor and the beliefs of their family. I trust women to make these decisions, and you should too.”
The American College of Gynecology disputes assertions that a fetus can feel pain at the 20 weeks gestation period, stating that there is “no legitimate evidence that fetuses can experience pain.” Governor Mark Dayton (D), a supporter of women’s rights to abortion services, will likely not sign the bill.
Currently, four states – Nebraska, Oklahoma, Idaho and Kansas – have passed similar legislation. Late last week, the Alabama House passed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act and at the end of March, the Idaho Senate voted to approve the Unborn Child Protection Act, both of which would ban abortions after 20 weeks, unless the woman’s life is endangered.