Republicans Create Scientific Knowledge by Legislation

We’ve known that the Republicans have little regard for science. Now they think they can dispense with the scientific method by just legislating the facts as they want them. Now they want to set by law when a fetus feels pain (Hat tip to Aetiology):

While they still can, House Republicans are looking at scheduling a vote next week on a fetal pain abortion bill in a parting shot at incoming majority Democrats and a last bid for loyalty from the GOP’s base of social conservatives…

The bill, by Rep. Chris Smith, R-New Jersey, defines a 20-week-old fetus as a “pain-capable unborn child” — a highly controversial threshold among scientists. It also directs the Health and Human Services Department to develop a brochure stating “that there is substantial evidence that the process of being killed in an abortion will cause the unborn child pain.”

Abortion providers would be required to inform the mothers that evidence exists that the procedure would cause pain to the child and offer the mothers anesthesia for the baby. The mothers would accept or reject the anesthesia by signing a form. The bill allows for an exception for certified medical emergencies.

When fetuses can feel pain — versus a reflexive drawing back from stimuli — has been the subject of heated debate. Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco last year reviewed dozens of studies and medical reports and said that fetuses likely are incapable of feeling pain until around the seventh month of pregnancy, when they are about 28 weeks old.

If the Republicans want to move up the date when a fetus can feel pain by about eight weeks from when it actually occurs, I’m surprised that they aren’t trying to move it up even further. Considering their opposition to embryonic stem cell research, why not move it up to this stage? Considering how little respect Republicans show for basic science, why even require a functioning neurological system to experience pain?

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  1. 1
    Kimball says:

    Since when do your coveted “facts,” Mr. Chusid, become so subjective as to use the term “likely” for explaining a scientific finding. When, what you call “scientific facts,” cease to be proven wrong then and only then will I use those facts to base my moral opinion. However, based on my research and study, I feel that it’s likely that a human fetus can feel pain at the point of conception or shortly there after.

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:


    Most of us in the scientifric community base our ideas of facts no upon subjective ideas but findings which are established by true scientific study and recognized by peer review. This excludes your ideas of “research and study” which is based upon religious dogma regardless of how it contradicts established science.

    There isn’t even a central nervous system at the point of conception, making it impossible to feel pain. There’s nothing subjective about that–just basic science.

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