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Abortion Hearing Brings Out Jurisdictional Battle

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Reps. Trent Franks (left) and Jerrold Nadler presided over a Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution hearing on late-term abortions in Washington, D.C.

Nadler and other Democrats on the committee challenged Levatino, Malloy and Calhoun as to why they were not taking into consideration medical studies conducted by the Journal of the American Medical Association and the Royal Academy of Obstetricians and Gynecologists showing that fetuses cannot feel pain until much later in the pregnancy, if at all.

There were no substantive follow-up questions posed by Members to Christy Zink, the Democrats’ witness. A D.C. resident, Zink recalled how she and her husband made the “difficult decision” to have an abortion after almost 22 weeks, when an MRI detected a severe abnormality in the fetus that, in effect, resulted in the absence of one side of the brain.

Zink said the condition could not have been discovered any earlier in her pregnancy.

“I am here today to speak out against the so-called Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. Its very premise — that it prevents pain — is a lie,” Zink said. “If this bill had been passed before my pregnancy, I would have had to carry to term and give birth to a baby who the doctors concurred had no chance of a life and would have experienced near-constant pain.”

Clarification: May 18, 2012

An earlier version of the article mischaracterized the concept of "perinatal hospice."

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