The Senate blocked an amendment Tuesday that intended to penalize medical providers that perform abortions on fetuses capable of feeling pain.
Republican Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy introduced the amendment on the Senate floor with hopes of adding it to the Senate Budget Resolution in order to protect fetuses capable of feeling pain by preventing doctors from performing abortions once a woman reaches 20 weeks of gestation.
“After 20 weeks of gestation, medical science has determined that children in their mother’s womb feel pain. To channel my good friend, the distinguished senator from Rhode Island, you can go to the appropriate professor at any of the universities in your state and they will tell you that is so,” Kennedy said on the Senate floor.
“This amendment will allow for penalties for those that perform elective abortions on unborn children that are at least 20 weeks into gestation.”
The Louisiana senator said the amendment would not apply to women receiving abortions in cases of rape, incest or life endangerment. (RELATED: Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Introduces Bill That Would Ban Abortions Once Fetus Can Feel Pain)
“Babies can start feeling pain at 20 weeks in the womb. These unborn children can suffer horrifically as they struggle for their lives during an abortion,” Kennedy’s Wednesday statement said. “I’m incredibly sad that Senate Democrats rejected the chance to protect innocent babies from such cruelty.”
A 2020 study conducted by two researchers for the Journal of Medical Ethics determined that fetuses may begin to feel pain as early as 12 weeks of gestation. Many scientists have determined that fetal pain begins at 20 weeks, according to the Charlotte Lozier Institute.
During a procedure, it is a standard procedural practice for surgeons to give the unborn patient pain medication as early as 18 weeks, the Institute reported.
Mississippi banned abortions when a woman reaches her 15th week of pregnancy in March, 2018, becoming the first state to ban the procedure earlier than 20 weeks. The Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch called on the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade and uphold the current state law in July, 2021.