Abortion Or Pro-Life? Can Babies Feel Pain In The Womb: In today’s episode, we have special guest, Dr. Shiela Page from the Charlotte Lozier Institute. We discuss the statistics on abortion in regards to Republican VS Democrat votes. We also talk about what “The Born Alive Infants Act” and “The Pain Capable Act” are and why it’s so important to pay attention to who has control of Congress and who ends up being the speaker of the House or the Senate majority leader. Also, learn how legislators are responding to new studies! Tune in now to learn more!
Air Date: 04/23/2018
Guest: Dr. Shiela Page
On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton
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Transcription note: As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast. Transcription will be released shortly. However, as this is transcribed from a live talk show, words and sentence structure were not altered to fit grammatical, written norms in order to preserve the integrity of the actual dialogue between the speakers. Additionally, names may be misspelled or we might use an asterisk to indicate a missing word because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.
Faith And The Culture
Welcome to the intersection of faith and the culture. This is WallBuilders Live! Where we talk about the day’s hottest topics on policy, faith, and the culture. Always from a biblical, historical, and constitutional perspective.
We’re here with David Barton, he’s America’s premier historian and the founder of WallBuilders. Also, Tim Barton, national speaker, pastor, and president of WallBuilders. And my name is Rick Green, I’m a former Texas legislator.
You can find out more about us and the program at our websites, we have two of them. The first one is the radio site – it’s WallBuildersLive.com. That’s where our archives are, so you can listen to programs from the last couple of months. You can also get a list of the stations around the country that carry the program and some news articles and other tools available to you there.
And then the wealth of information is found at WallBuilders.com. That’s where you can download articles, you can look up founding fathers, you can get books and DVDs, curriculum, programs for your Sunday school. All kinds of great tools for you to equip and inspire your family, yourself, all those people around you. Help us to get people to understand how important it is to be good citizens and do our duty.
David and Tim, one of the things that comes up on our program an awful lot when we talk about that intersection of faith and the culture is, of course, the life issue. We’ve seen major movement in this issue here in America over the last couple of decades. I’d venture to guess, David, when you started WallBuilders we were losing the life issue in a big way and that has changed dramatically over the last couple of decades.
The Lines Have Changed
Well, we were losing the life issue in a big way in some ways. In the hearts and minds of the people you actually had a couple of parties fighting the right direction. It was not polarized the way that it is now. You actually had pro-life Democrats elected in the U.S. House, the U.S. Senate, you had a lot of pro-life Democrats in the state legislatures. You just don’t find much of that right now.
So, in some ways we’re winning more of the pro-life battle, but it has changed the lines. It’s no longer a bipartisan kind of fight against abortion and actually radical forms of abortion. It really has become more of if you’re pro-life you’re going to have to be a Republican because, as we’ve seen even in recent weeks, the Democrats are saying, “We don’t want pro-life people in our party and there’s no room for you.” You’ve seen the head of the Democratic National Committee say, “There’s no room for pro-life Democrats in the Democrat Party.”
Well, I would also point out, guys, that even in the midst of the Republican Party, we’re saying it’s no longer a bipartisan issue, but there are so many factions, it’s a very fractured group. Because even when you look at Republicans you have so many different positions when it comes to the life issue. Now, generally, when you look at political systems and political parties, inside the Republican Party there are certainly much more political leaders that are pro-life. But there’s even battles inside the pro-life community of, “Well, what exactly is it that we’re against?”
And this is where you see in modern culture where much of the American people are against some form of abortion, but the majority of American people are not against every form of abortion. So, you really do have this huge spectrum across the paradigm of abortion and what’s right and what’s wrong. But it now is much more divided in political realms than it ever used to be.
Yeah. A great example is when you look at national polling right now – 76 percent of the nation says that there should be significant restrictions on the use of abortion. It shouldn’t be used as a birth control pill to control pregnancies, it should not be used as it is now with the late term abortions – that’s something that the overwhelming majority of Americans absolutely reject.
76 Percent of the Nation
So, if you take this number of 76 percent of the nation says that we disagree with wide open abortion on demand for anything, any cause, any purpose, that’s not where the people are. So, what you would want to see is you’d want to see 76 percent of Democrats say that we want restrictions on abortion. And you would want to see 76 percent of Republicans say we want restrictions on abortion. You would want to see both parties.
By the way, there’s 15 other third parties that are out there – you’d want to see all of them say 76 percent of our people say that abortion on demand, as we know it now, needs to end, we need to have restriction. That doesn’t mean they want to overturn Roe v. Wade and end all abortions, that means they want the convenience abortion stopped, they want the late term abortion stop. And that’s just something that we’re not seeing right now.
Especially in Washington D.C. and at the state level, it has become more polarized, I think, than anything we’ve seen since back in 1856 on the slavery issue. And there really are a lot of parallels that can be made between the slavery issue and the abortion issue. They were told, “We can do with our slaves because it’s our property.” And the other side said, “No, that’s a lie. You can’t do what you want with it – it’s a life given by God.” Which sounds like the pro-life, pro abortion – “Hey, it’s my life, my body, I can do what I want with it.” No, that’s a life inside you given by God.
And so the property argument, so much else – whether it’s alive or not, it really is reminiscent of the 1856 with a polarized America over the slavery issue. But that’s what we’re seeing today in America over the abortion issue.
Alright, guys, we’re going take a quick break. We’ll be back with more in just a moment. Then, later in the program, we have a special guest, Dr. Sheila Page. We’re going to talk about a specific area of the life movement. Stay with us – you’re listening to WallBuilders Live.
Moment From American History
This is Tim Barton with another moment from American history. The Second Amendment to the Constitution, which guarantees to every individual the right to keep and bear arms, has been targeted for years now by those who are determined to dismantle the individual right to self protection.
Opponents argue that, “Only the militia, the military, and law enforcement are to have and use firearms.” But those who wrote the Second Amendment strenuously disagreed, including Founding Father Richard Henry Lee, a signer of the declaration, a president of the Continental Congress, and one of those who actually framed the Second Amendment.
He declared, “To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them.”
For more information about Richard Henry Lee and the history of the Second Amendment go to WallBuilders.com.
Welcome back! Thanks for staying with us here on WallBuilders Live. So, guys, we’ve been talking about the life issue and the changes over the last few decades. And one of the things that’s really discussed a lot right now in the life movement, and we even see legislation in some states on this, we hear this term “fetal pain”. We’ll have an expert later tell us a little bit more about that. But you’re starting to see this as kind of a new area to be able to reduce abortions in America.
It’s a fairly active area in the state legislature. But let me just take it to that U.S. Congress for a minute. Because we had votes in the House and Senate on what’s called, “The Pain Capable Act.” What that means is once an unborn child is at the point of being able to feel pain in the womb, at that point you should no longer be able to do abortions. What point is that? Well, they’ve kind of scientifically figured out where that is and where the brain waves indicate that it’s possible to feel pain, etc.
As Polarized as You Can Possibly Make It
So, in voting on this in the U.S. Senate you had 98% of Republicans say that once a child is capable of feeling pain in the womb there should not be an abortion done. On the Democrat side, 94% said, “No, once there’s pain capable in the womb it’s still okay to do abortions. It’s still okay to abort children once they are able to feel pain during the abortion.”
So, you only had three Democrats who said, “that’s wrong” and only two Republicans that said, “No, no, no, it’s okay to abort.” So, that’s polarized. You have literally 94 percent of Democrats think pain capable means nothing. Ninety eight percent of Republicans think it’s important.
In the House on that measure, you had 98% of Democrats, 189 out of 192 say, “No, no, no, once a child is capable of feeling pain it’s okay to abort them.” And on the House side 99%, or 235 out of 237, Republicans said, “No way. Once a child is capable of feeling pain in the womb you don’t do an abortion.” That’s just as polarized as you can possibly make it.
Here’s one more to show how polarized this thing is. You may recall some years ago that as they were trying to do abortion years ago certain children were being born before the abortion was completed? Here’s this child alive on the table, capable of being saved, capable of preserving their life. The question is, “Once they’re out of the womb, is it okay to go ahead and kill the child? Even though they’re alive and capable of living, can we kill them then?”
Most Americans said, “Are you kidding?” That is straight out murder once they’re out of the womb. It’s called, “The Born Alive Infants Act,” that if a child is born alive during a late term abortion and they survive then a nurse and a doctor can’t kill them on the table once they’re outside the womb.
Where the Parties Have Drawn the Lines
One 100% of Republicans said, “Absolutely no way. Once they’re outside the womb you will not kill a full born child outside the womb.” And on the Democrat side only six Democrats voted against killing a child once it was alive outside the womb. One hundred and eighty six out of 192 Democrats said, “Once a child is outside the womb, an attempted abortion, if it’s still alive, it’s okay to kill that child on the table.”
That is unbelievable. But that’s how big the polarization is in America right now. That’s not where the American people are. That’s where the two parties have drawn the lines.
David, we have to make the point here that that’s why it’s so important to pay attention to who has control of Congress and who ends up being the speaker of the House or the Senate majority leader. Because even if you vote for your local, let’s say it’s a Democrat that is one of those six that says, “I’m not going to vote for that.” They will vote for a Democrat speaker and if they end up getting a Democrat speaker then what you just described, that’s going to be the position of the House, that it’s ok to let a baby be murdered on the table after it’s been born.
So, you’ve got to pay attention and not just your local congressman or state legislator, but party politics does matter. You got to pay attention to which party they’re part of and who they’re going to support for the leadership.
Rick, you’re exactly right on that. And by the way, I do not bet in Las Vegas, but if I were ever to cast a bet it would be that if Nancy Pelosi becomes speaker of the House there will be absolutely zero votes on any pro-life issue period. There’ll be plenty on pro abortion stuff, but not on pro-life. You can take that to the bank. And you’re exactly right, Rick, leadership makes all the difference.
In looking at this abortion issue, Dr. Sheila Page is someone who is very much into the science of what goes on with things like the Pain Capable Act, etc, testifies in Europe legislatures and parliamentary places in Europe, as well as in states across the United States. And she’ll be our guest after we come back from the break.
Stay with us, folks. Dr. Sheila Page when we return on WallBuilders Live.
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Have you ever wanted to learn more about the United States Constitution but just felt like, man, the classes are boring or it’s just that old language from 200 years ago or I don’t know where to start? People want to know. But it gets frustrating because you don’t know where to look for truth about the Constitution either.
Well,, we’ve got a special program for you available now called Constitution Alive with David Barton and Rick Green. It’s actually a teaching done on the Constitution at Independence Hall in the very room where the Constitution was framed. We take you both to Philadelphia, the Cradle of Liberty and Independence Hall and to the WallBuilders’ library where David Barton brings the history to life to teach the original intent of our Founding Fathers.
We call it the QuickStart guide to the Constitution because in just a few hours through these videos you will learn the Citizen’s Guide to America’s Constitution. You’ll learn what you need to do to help save our Constitutional Republic. It’s fun! It’s entertaining! And it’s going to inspire you to do your part to preserve freedom for future generations. It’s called Constitution Alive with David Barton and Rick Green. You can find out more information on our website now at WallBuilders.com.
Welcome back. Thanks for staying with us here on WallBuilders Live. Dr. Sheila Page is with us from the Charlotte Lozier Institute. Dr. Page, good to have you on.
Thank you. Thank you for inviting me.
Well, we’ve seen a lot of states, and even some debate at the federal level, a lot of states looking at legislation to reduce abortion and the cut off point being at the point the baby can feel pain. We call them “fetal pain” legislation, there are different names for it. You guys have released a lot of information on this and are really diving in to help educate legislators on how to make this decision and can a baby in the womb feel pain? When do they feel it? Is that an accurate description of what you guys are working on.
Yes there has been a lot of effort into it and it’s one of the areas that I’ve focused on specifically. And just going back and looking at the anatomical evidence that we have in the study of the human embryo. Specifically, of the neurological system and how it develops and when the potential for pain perception occurs.
So, if a legislator is saying, “Okay, look, I’ll support legislation that prevents an abortion if the baby can feel pain. But how do I know when that point is.” If a legislator says that to you, how do you how do you respond?
Well, it’s a really good question because, first of all, you’re asking for proof that someone feels pain. And if you think about it we can’t really even say that you or I feel pain. I can’t prove what you feel any more than I can prove what an unborn child feels. But I can prove that you’re capable of it.
And so we look at what is required for you to feel pain and we can also study the developing human and see whether or not they have the same elements necessary for pain perception.
And just, Dr. Page, for our listeners that might be saying, “Well, why does it matter if they feel pain? You’re still taking life.” Of course, this is because we don’t have the votes to end abortion completely, but we do have the votes, often, to reduce the number of abortions and to cut back on the time frame so that it’s only allowed at the earliest possible stages.
And one of those areas that a lot of legislators are at least willing to consider at this point as a cutoff point is when they can feel pain. Or as you just said, they potentially could feel pain, or would most of–I assume you maybe even put it that way that most babies at that point would feel pain.
Recognizing the Humanity of the Unborn Child
Yes, so what you want to do is recognize the humanity of the unborn child. Pain perception is something that is very real to all of us, we all understand that. The methods used in abortion in taking the child’s life would most certainly induce pain if they were applied to anyone of us. So, just exposing what is being done and the fact that that child can feel what’s happening and will suffer in the process is a very important movement for us to take because we need to expose the reality of what’s being done in an abortion.
So, based on y’all’s research and this study that was put out it sounds like it’s earlier than what a lot of people had assumed. I think most people assume that at about 20 – weeks you guys are saying, “No, look, at a seven or eight week period they begin to respond.”
So, yes, 20 weeks has been the period that has been used where most agreements can be found. Most scientists, researchers, will say they can’t deny that at that point these babies can feel pain. But what you see when you start diving into the research of how the developing human is formed, you can see that the pain perception system, which includes all the nerves, the sensory fibers, and the spinal cord, and the thalamus, and the lower brain centers where pain perception occurs, is already formed and it’s functioning by seven and a half to eight weeks.
So, at that time the human being that’s developing in the womb is a sensory being. The way that it grows and develops and changes over time from there on out is very sensory. That’s how they’re learning and interacting with the environment. They’re hearing, they’re breathing, and they’re learning. So, the brain is forming through the motion and the sensory intake that that human being is experiencing.
How are legislators responding to this at this point? This earlier date as a potential point of saying, “Hey, this is the point they’re feeling pain, so not at 20 weeks – we need to be thinking about 7, 8, 10 weeks.”
What Are Some Good Ways to Reach Legislators With This Information?
I haven’t seen any really looking at making any changes to the law that early. But I think what happens is you recognize that if the pain perception system is already intact and functioning by 7 1/2 weeks and it continues to be elaborated and become more sophisticated over time, by 10 weeks, and 14 weeks, and 15 weeks, you have a very highly advanced nervous system that we didn’t really recognize before in the context of the law.
What are some good ways to get this information into the hands of legislators and educate them on it? I hadn’t heard of this study until now. So, how do we get them educated? Seems like if they see this it’s going to be a whole lot easier for them to vote for a ban at 20 weeks, right? Because they’re going to be thinking, well, it really should be seven or eight, we don’t have the votes for that, but we can get 20 weeks. That should help–
–to pass this legislation. Go ahead, sorry.
I think it would help it, but it’s a matter of being able to start to understand and being willing to understand what– I think for many in the United States it’s not that hard. They recognize that it’s just a matter of convincing the ones who don’t want to see and understand that this needs to be recognized.
The United States is Among the Few
You pointed out, too, in your in your paper that this is something we’re– what is it, seven countries that allow elective abortions now? Only 7 after 20 weeks?
Yes, that’s one of the studies that Charlotte Lozier had done. Just surveying the various countries in the world and the United States is among the few that allow late term abortions.
Man, yeah, and that’s not good company to keep, I’d say, to be a part of the seven that allow that.
We’re on the wrong end of that one.
Yeah, most of them prohibit it much earlier.
Well, what about other countries? You had the chance to visit with legislators in other countries, do you see them becoming more and more open to this?
Yeah, I was really excited to have the opportunity talked with some of the members of parliament in the UK that are part of an all party parliamentary pro-life group. They are starting to look at this approach also by recognising the capability of the unborn child to feel pain. And then requiring that this be addressed in the context of abortion. Of course it’s already addressed when you’re talking about surgeries. All of the specialized surgeons who treat the little babies while they’re still in the womb recognise this and they treat the babies accordingly, but it’s not considered applicable in context of abortion.
On the Wrong Side of History
So, these are not– the explanation given by some of the journals is that– especially the journal of the American Medical Association, wrote a paper in 2005 that’s still being used quite a bit. And one of the explanations was that in the context of abortion, fetal beneficence is not being considered. But because in surgery the main reason for using an anesthesia is fetal beneficence then, of course, it would be appropriate, but not in the context of abortion.
So, if you kind of let that sink in it also is a little shocking when you realize that the physicians that are defending this are having to say, “yes”. they have no intention to have goodwill towards the baby.
The left loves to say this, but I think it’s true at this point – they’re on the wrong side of history. This is definitely an issue that we are beginning to win and hearts and minds are changing. And part of it is this scientific data that is becoming more and more readily available.
We’ll have a link today at our website to this study – LozierInstitute.org is the easy place to be able to go directly to that. Dr. Page, thanks so much for your time. We appreciate you coming on the program with us today.
Alright, thank you.
Stay with us, folks. We’ll be right back with David and Tim Barton
Leadership Training Program
Hey, friends! We’ve got a great program to share with you today. It’s the WallBuilders Leadership Training Program and it’s an opportunity for 18 to 25 year olds to come spend two weeks diving into the original documents we’re always talking about here on WallBuilders Live.
Tim, you’ve already been doing this a couple of summers and seen the results of young people coming to this program. We’re going to see more of them coming this year.
Yeah, Rick, it’s something that’s been cool to see the transformation with young people coming in. The emphasis, for us, largely is a pursuit of truth. We have a culture that doesn’t know what truth is. We don’t know what biblical truth is, or constitutional truth, or the American heritage that we have. And so we really dive into original documents and say, “Well,, what did they actually write? What did they actually do? Not just what did somebody say, what is actually true, and the truth is what’s transformational.
Yeah, guys. This really is a remarkable opportunity. And for those who want to spend time with us and spend time in the original documents, this is a great program. So,, if you’re from 18 to 25, or someone who’s 18 to 25, send them to sign up for one of our three sessions this summer at WallBuilders.com/leadershiptraining.
Moment From American History
This is Tim Barton from WallBuilders with another moment from American history. Alexis De Tocqueville, a political official from France, traveled to the United States in 1831 and penned his observations in the now famous book, “Democracy In America.”
Being from France, what he found in America was completely unexpected to him. He reported, “Upon my arrival in the United States, the religious aspect of the country was the first thing that struck my attention. And the longer I stayed there the more I perceived the great political consequences resulting from this. In France I had almost always seen the spirit of religion and the spirit of freedom marching in opposite directions. But in America I found that they were intimately united and that they reigned in common over the same country.”
Did Tocqueville recognized that it was Biblical Christianity and the morals it produced that made America great? For more information about Alexis Tocqueville and the positive influence of Christianity in early America go to WallBuilders.com.
A Frontline Battle
We’re back on WallBuilders Live. Thanks for staying with us. A special thanks to Dr. Sheila Page for joining us. Back with David and Tim Barton now. And, guys, obviously this is a battleground, this is really the frontline battle. A lot of people might say, “Well, man, we hear Tim and David share all that good news on Good News Fridays, we’re winning all these pro-life victories. Where else is a battle? Where can we win. Well, here’s an issue that we need to be informed on and encourage our legislators to support this.
Yeah, this is something that, Rick, that is obviously very important to get legislators behind. Because even though we are seeing progress there’s still so much work to be done. And I love the point she made that, when you look at an unborn child and people argue, “Well, can it really feel pain?” As she says, “It’s no different than a normal grown individual like us.” Can you really feel pain? Well, your body is capable of receiving that data that would tell you you’re feeling pain, but you don’t really know what level of pain you do or don’t feel. But we can tell when an unborn child that they’re developed enough that their body can comprehend that same thought.
Just the way she unfolds your like, “That’s a really good point that, really, I hadn’t processed it that way.” But it makes a lot of sense of why something like this would be so important and then why we need to know how to communicate those values so we can get our legislatures behind supporting this kind of stuff.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read the title in the state and the federal legislature of the Pain Capable Act and I didn’t realize that it’s pain capable. You can’t say for sure even though you measure brain waves and it’s very clear that they’re reacting in some way to stimuli. The Pain Capable– you’re right, Tim, that is a really cool point. And 20 weeks is the federal threshold, but as she said, science is now shown that it’s actually lower than that. And so the question was, do legislators care about this threshold of–
And David, if I can interrupt you second, when you say “lower” you mean earlier in the pregnancy.
Yeah. Earlier in the pregnancy. Exactly right. And do legislators care? And I would argue, “No, they don’t.” Because if you have that 98 percent of Democrats that vote and say, “Well, if you’re trying an abortion and the child is alive outside the womb it’s okay to go ahead and kill that child.” Why would lowering the threshold to an earlier stage create greater protection?
Abortion Or Pro-Life? Can Babies Feel Pain In The Womb
Yeah, if you’ve already taken that position it’s pretty clear where you’re going to be on this other position of lowering that threshold. Nonetheless, this is a very important issue to get behind.
And it’s one that will help pass in pro-life states and help en more abortions. Particularly in pro-life states, red state, some purple states.
Thanks to Dr. Sheila Page for joining us today. Thank you for listening to WallBuilders Live.