NC Values Coalition Statement on Planned Parenthood Challenge of North Carolina's Abortion Law

NC Values Coalition Statement on Planned Parenthood Challenge of North Carolina's Abortion Law:

“When North Carolina legalized abortion over 40 years ago, it did so with a ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.  Based on new scientific discoveries showing that unborn babies feel excruciating pain at approximately 20 weeks of pregnancy, the state adopted a U.S. Supreme Court-sanctioned exception that would allow these late-term abortions only for “medical emergencies.” Seventy percent of Americans believe that late-term abortions after 20 weeks are wrong, because the unborn babies are subjected to and can feel pain, and because there are hardly any circumstances under which a woman would wait till the 5th month of pregnancy to seek an abortion." - Tami Fitzgerald, North Carolina Values Coalition Executive Director


Below is just a sample of the clear scientific evidence with sources referenced:

  • On neurological development: “Pain receptors appear around the mouth 4 to 5 weeks post-fertilization, followed by the development of nerve fibers, which carry stimuli to the brain. Around 6 six weeks post-fertilization, the unborn child first responds to touch. By 18 weeks post-fertilization, pain receptors have appeared throughout the body.” (2003 medical textbook on maternal, fetal, and neonatal physiology)
  • On early fetal response to painful stimuli: “The earliest reactions to painful stimuli motor reflexes can be detected at 7.5 weeks of gestations [5.5 weeks post-fertilization].” (Aida Salihagić Kadić and Maja Predojević, “Fetal neurophysiology according to gestational age,” Seminars in Fetal & Neonatal Medicine 17, no. 5 (2012): 256-260.)
  • On fetal stress responses“Multiple studies show that ‘the human fetus from 18-20 weeks elaborates pituitary-adrenal, sympatho-adrenal, and circulatory stress responses to physical insults.’” (2013 expert testimony before Congress of Dr. Maureen Condic, Director of Human Embryology instruction for the School of Medicine at the University of Utah, )
  • On fetal experience of pain being more intense than in adults: “Mechanisms that inhibit or moderate the experience of pain do not begin to develop until 32 to 34 weeks post-fertilization. Any pain the unborn child experiences before these pain inhibitors are in place is likely more intense than the pain an older infant or adult experiences when subjected to similar types of injury.” (Expert Report of Kanwaljeet S. Anand, M.B.B.S., D.Phil.” National Right to Life, January 15, 2014,
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