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Members of the National Abortion Federation (NAF) provide compassionate care for over half the women who choose abortion each year in the United States. In furtherance of NAF's goal to support the provision of the highest quality care, we fully support a woman's right to accurate and complete information about all issues regarding her care.
We strongly oppose the "Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act" (H.R. 3442/S. 356). This ill-advised bill inappropriately interferes with the way in which doctors care for their patients, advances political agendas over sound science and medicine, and places physicians in jeopardy for providing medically responsible patient care.
H.R. 3442/S. 356 would require abortion providers to inform a patient seeking a legal abortion after 20 weeks that there is "substantial evidence" that a fetus may feel pain during an abortion procedure. This is accomplished by forcing doctors to provide women with information in a statement drafted by Congress. The statement contains inflammatory rhetoric that projects a level of certainty that far exceeds the scientific research. Available science fails to support the conclusions drawn by the legislation and its required statement.
Physicians share with their patients relevant information about available health care options and respect the decisions made by their patients. This legislation intrudes upon the physician-patient relationship by requiring physicians to provide information that they may not believe is accurate or appropriate for an individual patient. Responsible medicine requires that patients and physicians be able to make treatment decisions together based on individual patient circumstances.
Requiring misleading mandated communication is a dangerous insertion of Congress into private health care decisions. Congress should not substitute political agendas for scientific knowledge. Women in all health care settings deserve accurate, unbiased medical information. We urge Members of Congress to oppose this legislation so that doctors and patients, not politicians, can continue to determine what constitutes medically appropriate care.