.- The House of Representatives will hold the first-ever vote next week on a measure that would inform women considering an abortion after 20 weeks gestation that their baby will feel intense pain as a result of the abortion, reported LifeNews.com.
The bill also requires abortion practitioners to offer the mother a chance to give the baby anesthesia beforehand.
Rep. Chris Smith, a pro-life New Jersey Republican, is the lead sponsor of the Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act (H.R. 6099), and 93 members of the House have signed on as co-sponsors.
The measure came about after the debate in Congress on the federal partial-birth abortion ban. Witnesses testified that unborn children past 20 weeks gestation feel excruciating pain during the course of an abortion.
The House will consider the bill under the "Suspension Calendar" which means the legislation needs a two-thirds vote in order to pass.
Whether or not the bill passes, consideration of the measure provides pro-life lawmakers an opportunity to launch a national discussion on the pain babies feel during abortions.
Dr. Kanwaljeet Anand of the University of Arkansas Medical Center has said an unborn child's ability to feel pain "will develop sometime during the second trimester and by the third trimester the pain system is completely functional.â
A British study, published in the Journal of Neuroscience by a team from University College London, came to the same conclusion.