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New Jersey Senators Introduce ‘Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act’

TRENTON, NJ – New Jersey lawmakers have introduced a new bill aimed at limiting abortions after 20 weeks after conception, citing the ability of unborn children to feel pain at this stage. Sponsored by Senator Joseph Pennacchio of District 26 (Morris and Passaic) and co-sponsored by Senators Singer, AM Bucco and Space, the proposed legislation is formally called the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.”

The bill provides that abortions may not be performed or attempted when the likely age after fertilization of the fetus is twenty weeks or more, except under specified conditions. These exceptions include scenarios where the life of the pregnant woman is in danger due to a physical condition, illness or injury related to the pregnancy, or if the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest, with the provision that these incidents are the law must be reported. enforcement or the Division of Child Protection and Permanency before the procedure.

Doctors should determine the likely age after fertilization of the fetus before performing an abortion. The bill requires abortions performed under the exceptions to be performed in a manner that gives the fetus the best chance of survival, unless doing so would pose a greater risk to the woman’s life or cause substantial and irreversible harm.

The legislation is also consistent with the federal Born Alive Infant Protection Act, which sets out procedures for cases in which an abortion results in a live birth. In addition, it requires documentation proving the circumstances of rape or incest, requires informed consent from the woman undergoing the abortion, and requires physicians to submit annual summaries of all abortions performed to the National Center for Health Statistics.

Violations of this bill would constitute a crime of the third degree, punishable by three to five years in prison or a fine of up to $15,000, or both. However, women who have an abortion would not be held civilly or criminally liable.

Proponents of the bill argue that substantial medical evidence indicates that fetuses can experience pain after twenty weeks, making it a compelling state interest to protect unborn children from this stage. Critics of such measures typically claim that they infringe on women’s reproductive rights and access to health care. Modeled after HR36 of the 114th Congress, the bill reflects an ongoing national dialogue about the balance between fetal rights and women’s autonomy.