On the pro-choice vs. pro-life issue, I'm probably somewhere in the great American muddled middle. That includes accepting that the state has a compelling interest, using that phrase in its full legal meaning, at protecting human life, and that, by the third trimester, such a judgment can be made. But, as part of that, not just on the compelling interest issue but reproductive issues in general, I advocate turning to sound science.
And, it appears ardent pro-lifers don't. It seems that fetal pain is definitely not an issue at 20 weeks, and apparently not at 24 weeks, either. It's only in what is, per Roe v. Wade, the third trimester, when a tiny fraction of abortions are performed, that it is an issue. But, per the link, that doesn't stop fetal pain from being the latest "hand-waver" for ardent pro-lifers. (That is, unless it undercuts their position; see below.)
But, the biggest issue of exploitative use isn't even that. It's selectively deliberate non-use of science, along with invention of pseudoscience, per the last two grafs of the story:
Some scientists say if fetuses feel pain, childbirth would seem to be particularly painful. Yet fetal-pain law supporters do not advocate fetal anesthesia or painkillers then. (Mary Spaulding Balch, the National Right to Life Committee’s state policy director) said she believes “there is something that is produced that prevents pain” for babies being born.Scientists say that is not so. “There are ways in which the pain of being born may help the fetus by producing activation in the pathways of the brain,” (Dr. Kanwaljeet Anand, a professor of pediatrics, anesthesiology and neurobiology at the University of Tennessee) said.
At the same time, "follow the science" cuts both ways. I simply disagree with people who say there's no reason to restrict third-trimester abortion, for example.
And, I find P.Z. Myers' support, via sociological "reasoning," for legalizing early-childhood infanticide, whether actual support or just theoretical, whether straight-up or tongue in cheek, to be appalling. (And, yes, he's made comments like that before.)
And, one can be pro-choice yet bluntly honest about what's happening. I present Ted Rall.