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Utah may pass legislation requiring anesthesia for aborted babies

Utah Monument Valley Photo Wolfgang Staudt/Flickr/Creative Commons

Utah Monument Valley Photo Wolfgang Staudt/Flickr/Creative Commons

The Republican governor of Utah says he would sign off on legislation requiring doctors to provide anesthesia to babies during abortions.

Though Gov. Gary Herbert does not personally agree with abortion, if it is legal he believes it should be conducted in the most humane way possible.

A bill requiring anesthesia in that state is being drafted by Sen. Curt Bramble. He is proposing legislation that would require anesthesia at the age a baby would experience pain. It is not certain at this point at what age this would apply.

Herbert did note that a baby’s heart starts beating at five weeks.

Already, those working in the abortion industries have come out against the bill arguing that providing anesthesia to the baby would be more government intrusion into the mother/Doctor decision.

Minnesota passed legislation in 2005 requiring mothers be provided with the option of giving pain medication to their babies during an abortion.

Up to the early 1980s, surgeons were routinely performing surgeries on recently born babies without anesthesia because they did not believe they experienced pain.

In 1983, English doctor Kanwaljeet Anand was the first to question the lack of anesthesia. He was working in a recovery unit at a hospital in Oxford, England and noticed babies returning from operations were in shock and it often took him hours to stabilize them.

He asked permission to follow babies through their procedures and was stunned to find out doctors were only giving infants a paralytic drug to keep them still during their medical procedures. Extensive operations, including open heart surgery, were being done without any pain medication during and after the procedures.

Anand initiated a series of trials and found recovery rates for some infant medical procedures doubled with the proper use of pain medications.

As medicine advanced babies as young as 22 weeks old were now undergoing procedures. Anand noticed that even at that young age babies would wince when he pricked their foot with a needle. Anand and others believe babies experience pain earlier than 22 weeks.

Brain waves in a baby are first recorded at 43 days and by 20 weeks the baby has its full complement of brain cells.


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