Wisconsin is latest to pass fetal pain law

January 1, 2006

Physicians who perform abortions in Wisconsin may have another legal requirement to fulfill in order to terminate a pregnancy in cases other than a medical emergency. If SB138 becomes law, a physician in the state will be required to inform a woman seeking an abortion that, if the fetus is at least 20 weeks, it "has the physical structures necessary to experience pain and that abortions can cause substantial pain to the fetus," reported the Associated Press (11/10/05).

Physicians who perform abortions in Wisconsin may have another legal requirement to fulfill in order to terminate a pregnancy in cases other than a medical emergency. If SB138 becomes law, a physician in the state will be required to inform a woman seeking an abortion that, if the fetus is at least 20 weeks, it "has the physical structures necessary to experience pain and that abortions can cause substantial pain to the fetus," reported the Associated Press (11/10/05).

Although these assertions are debated in the medical community, similar laws have been passed in Arkansas and Minnesota. A bill, known as the Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act, is also being considered by federal lawmakers.

Wisconsin already requires physicians to give women seeking abortions information on alternatives to terminating a pregnancy and provide counseling at least 24 hours before the procedure is performed. Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle has promised to veto the legislation.