NBC Spotlights Abortionist Saying It's ‘Unlikely’ Unborn Feel Pain ‘Until Birth’

February 1st, 2018 3:33 PM

An abortion provider is arguing that it’s “unlikely” unborn babies feel pain “until birth” – and NBC is loving it.

On Tuesday, NBC News Health published a story fawning over an abortionist who “just explained late-term abortion” via Twitter. And by “explain,” NBC meant that he argued why it should remain legal.

From the beginning, senior health writer Maggie Fox made clear her stance by calling lawmakers “anti-abortion-rights politicians” for supporting a recent attempt to ban abortion after 20 weeks “on the grounds that the fetus would feel pain.” (The U.S. is one of just seven countries with elective abortions that late, by the way.)

Because of that legislation, Fox wanted to know “why would any woman want such a late-term abortion” and “can a fetus really feel pain?” She pointed to the University of California San Francisco’s Dr. Daniel Grossman for the answers after he “boiled it down to a series of tweets.”

The first one she cited was Grossman’s tweet to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), reading, “Research has shown a fetus does not yet have the capacity to experience pain until at least the third trimester, and unlikely until birth.”

Grossman went on to share a 2005 review in the journal JAMA.

You “noted that ‘fetal pain’ is your main reason for banning abortion at 20 weeks,” he told the senator, “and I’d like to take the opportunity to share some evidence-based medical information on this with you.”

That research concluded that “evidence regarding the capacity for fetal pain is limited but indicates that fetal perception of pain is unlikely before the third trimester.”

Neither Grossman nor Fox addressed opposing, more recent research collected by the Susan B. Anthony’s research arm, the Charlotte Lozier Institute. But then, as Grossman himself admitted to NBC, “This has become such a highly politicized topic that the facts really get lost.”

Facts saying, as The New York Times pointed out, premature babies born at 22 weeks can survive. But for his part, Grossman states abortion should be legal up to 26 weeks or later.

Speaking of politicizing abortion, Grossman’s an expert of it. He serves as a board member of NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation which argues that the “fundamental equality of women” relies on the “right to abortion.” He’s also worked for America’s largest abortion provider, as a Planned Parenthood consultant.

He considers abortion a “human right” that should be available to all women “regardless of immigration status” and “when they want it.” He heralds pro-lifers as “anti-choice” (not even “anti-abortion). Together with abortion activist Renee Bracey Sherman, he says women regretting their abortions a “myth.” He calls for “over-the-counter abortions” and champions abortion via telemedicine.

Abortion is no big deal, he argues, because the “safety profile of abortion is similar to or even better than other procedures” like dental procedures. In other words, it’s like miscarriage. (Except for that miscarriage is not a “choice” – just ask moms.)

Of the women who choose medical abortion, he says “their experience is very similar to a natural miscarriage.” Of suction abortion, he claims it’s “really quite similar to what clinicians may do in their offices to treat a woman with a miscarriage.”

A self-described “physician and gay man,” he’s also focused on transgender bathroom bill legislation.

And the media love him, with outlets, including The New York Times, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, Teen Vogue, Vice, Buzzfeed, and Refinery29, either citing or publishing him.

But back to NBC. According to Grossman, women seek abortions after 20 weeks for “many reasons,” like a “late diagnosis of a severe fetal abnormality that means it would not survive after birth, or be in severe pain.”

Even though “it” can’t feel feel pain until birth, according to him.

According to Grossman, Fox added that women “may also need an abortion to save their lives.” But that was irrelevant, considering the 20-week ban included exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother. Something Fox didn’t mention.

He concluded that “state laws aimed at protecting unborn babies are in fact forcing women to have later and later abortions.”

Or, you know, not at all. Both the national abortion rate and Planned Parenthood’s abortion rate are declining. But again, in Grossman’s words, sometimes the “facts really get lost.”

As for Ms. Fox, well, let’s hope that she’ll highlight the other side too, one day.