Communications Department

U.S. District Court for Idaho Holds Hearing on Challenge of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act

Sep 9, 2011 | 2011 Press Releases

WASHINGTON – Today, a hearing was held in the U.S. District Court for Idaho in a challenge to the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. The judge will announce his ruling next week. Passed earlier this year by overwhelming majorities in the state legislature, the Act protects unborn children capable of feeling pain from an abortion. In passing the law, the legislature determined that there is substantial medical evidence that unborn children are capable of experiencing pain at least by twenty (20) weeks after fertilization, and that the state has a compelling state interest in protecting these pain-capable children.

Studies have shown that these children in the womb recoil from painful stimuli, experience increased release of stress hormones when subjected to pain, and need anesthesia when undergoing fetal surgery,” said Mary Spaulding Balch, J.D., director of state legislation for the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC). “They have the right to be recognized and protected in law.”

McCormack v. Hiedeman, the class-action lawsuit challenging the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act in Idaho, is the first challenge to this ground-breaking type of legislation originally passed last year in Nebraska. It has since been passed in Alabama, Oklahoma, Kansas and Idaho.

The Idaho legislature and Governor Otter recognized this right and responsibility of the state to protect the lives of unborn children who are capable of feeling pain,” said Balch. “We are confident that this protective law will remain in place, and that the rights of these pain-capable children, be it in the U.S. District Court, or the U.S. Supreme Court, will be upheld.”

Founded in 1968, the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), the federation of 50 state right-to-life affiliates and more than 3,000 local chapters, is the nation’s oldest and largest national grassroots pro-life organization. Recognized as the flagship of the pro-life movement, NRLC works through legislation and education to protect innocent human life from abortion, infanticide, assisted suicide and euthanasia.