National Partnership for Women & Families

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Mass. Committee Hears Testimony on Fetal Anesthetization Bill

Mass. Committee Hears Testimony on Parental Consent, Fetal Anesthetization Bills

June 6, 2013 — The Massachusetts Public Health Committee on Tuesday heard testimony on a measure (H 1930) that would require anesthesia for fetuses before certain abortions, State House News Service/Cape Cod Today reports.

The bill would require abortion providers to anesthetize a fetus before performing abortions between 20 weeks and 30 weeks of pregnancy. The measure -- sponsored by state Rep. Viriato deMacedo (R) -- is based on the disputed theory that a fetus can feel pain at that point of development.

State Rep. Shelia Harrington (R) said, "I think there will be a great number of women who would like to have this procedure," adding that women also would be able to refuse the procedure.

Megan Amundson, executive director of NARAL Pro Choice Massachusetts, said the bill would create an unnecessary "barrier" to accessing abortion care (Murphy, State House News Service/Cape Cod Today, 6/5).