Pain-capable Unborn Child Protection Act

H.B. 5343 - Rep. Eileen Kowall
H.B. 5344 - Rep. Eileen Kowall

Current Status

The language of H.B. 5343 and 5344 were incorporated in their entirety into H.B. 5712 & 5713, along with the entire contents of the Coercive Abortion Prevention Act bills H.B. 4798 & 4799 that were introduced on 5/31/12. The House Health Policy Committee reported H.B. 5712 & 5713 to the House floor on 6/7/12 by votes of 13-4, along with the omnibus bill, H.B. 5711 (aka the "Prolife Bus."). The House approved only H.B. 5711 on 6/13/12 by a vote of 70-39. After objections were raised by Gov. Snyder to the Pain-capable provisions found in H.B. 5712 & 5713, those bills were left to "die" for the remainder of the session.

H.B. 5343-44 were introduced on February 2, 2012, and referred to the House Committee on Health Policy.

This legislation would prohibit performance of an abortion on an unborn child at 20 weeks post-fertilization or greater unless the abortion is necessary to avert the mother's death. It will require the physician to determine the age of the unborn child before performing the abortion, except in the case of a medical emergency. Violations would be punishable by up to 15 years imprisonment, a maximum $7,500 fine, or both.


Extensive medical research confirms that an unborn child at 20 weeks after conception does experience pain. Surgeons who perform life-saving surgery on unborn children routinely use fetal anesthesia to prevent pain and its consequent thrashing reaction. The unborn child's capacity to feel pain is an accepted medical fact.

Michigan law already contains several prohibitions against the intentional infliction of pain. These include bans on torture, cruelty to animals, and cruel or unusual punishment of criminals. This legislation will eliminate those abortions that are particularly heinous and barbaric, late-term abortions performed on babies at or beyond 20 weeks post-conception.

Five states already ban late-term abortions based on the unborn child's ability to feel pain: Nebraska, Idaho, Kansas, Oklahoma and Alabama. Abortionists and pro-abortion groups have not challenged the ban in any of these states.

From 2008-2010, Michigan has averaged 242 abortions each year on babies at 19 weeks or more post-fertilization (21 weeks or more from the mother's last menstrual period). Late-term abortions are generally on the rise in our state. Nationwide, medical studies in peer-reviewed journals confirm that a significant majority of these late-term abortions are performed on healthy babies with physically healthy mothers. Medical research also establishes that late-term abortion procedures expose women to substantial risk of serious complications. This ban on late-term abortions will protect both women and unborn children.


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