Gov. Mary Fallin of Oklahoma signed a pro-life measure into law, April 20, making it illegal to abort unborn children after 20 weeks of gestation because they are capable of feeling pain. The bill goes into effect November 1, 2011.
“States are recognizing that they have an interest in, and obligation to, protecting unborn children from pain,” said Mary Spaulding Balch, the director of state legislation for National Right to Life Committee.
The Oklahoma bill, titled the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,” states that “Pain receptors… are present throughout the unborn child’s entire body by no later than sixteen…weeks after fertilization and nerves link these receptors to the brain’s thalamus and subcortical plate by no later than twenty…weeks.”
Once this link is made, the bill argues, the necessary and sufficient conditions for pain have been met. The law states, “After twenty… weeks, the unborn child reacts to stimuli that would be recognized as painful if applied to an adult,” and for this reason the state has a compelling interest in protecting the unborn child.