Perry Signs Anti-Abortion Pledge, Endorses Unscientific ‘Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act’

Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) has just signed the controversial Susan B. Anthony anti-abortion pledge, vowing to nominate strict constructionist judges, “select only pro-life appointees for relevant Cabinet and Executive Branch positions,” push for defunding Planned Parenthood and other taxpayer-supported abortion providers, and to sign a Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.

The document would severely hamper the appointment process — excluding more moderate politicians like Rudy Giuliani from prominent posts — but its embrace of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act is even more bothersome and yet another example of the party’s anti-science agenda. The act, which Nebraska, Idaho, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Alabama have signed into law, limits abortions after 22 weeks based on disputed research that fetuses can feel pain at that point of development. Though debate exists, a thorough review of the medical evidence in the Journal of the American Medical Association determined that “pain perception probably does not function before the third trimester.” Before then, “the fetus’s higher pain pathways are not yet fully developed and functional.”

But why worry about “untruths” when right-wing lawmakers can use “false research” to challenge Roe v. Wade? The bill purposely undermines the ruling’s viability standard — “the point at which the fetus can live outside the womb” — as the point when states can ban abortions and aims to submit fetal pain as “a new dividing line at which abortions could be banned.”

While most other GOP presidential candidates have agreed to the pledge, Mitt Romney refused to sign it, saying it was “overly broad and would have unintended consequences.”