When does a fetus begin to feel pain? That's the question before legislators this week at the State house in Topeka.


A new bill would declare that a fetus is capable of feeling pain at least 22 weeks into a pregnancy. Representative Terri Lois Gregory who supports the bill says that the proposed law would help educate people about the impact of abortion.

"The scientific evidence that substantiates that unborn children feel pain is pretty over whelming," said Gregory. "By the 20th week, all the pain receptors are in place."

The bill bans abortions on what they call "pain capable fetus" unless it jeopardizes the life of or creates a irreversible impairment to the mother.

House Bill 2218 is part of a larger effort to regulate abortion and fulfill Governor Brownback's promise to establish a pro-life culture in Kansas. But opponents of the bill say the studies supporters relied upon are unaccredited by mainstream medical sources.

Those against the bill say they have additional studies that show a fetus can not feel pain until later during pregnancy.

Tiffany Campbell, a mother of three, testified about her choice to have an abortion on one of her twin sons, when doctors said the babies suffered from a rare condition that would have let both of them die. She chose to one son, Brandon, go to let his twin brother live.

"They went in and cut off supply to his umbilical cord and he passed away immediately." said Campbell. "He also stayed inside the womb until his brother was born 20 weeks later and then we got to hold him and spend time with him. So Brandon didn't feel any pain and that was one of the first questions asked."

The U.S. Supreme Court has previously said that a fetus is viable after 24 weeks and is subject to some government regulation. If passed, this new bill will set up a battle in the courtroom over how early the state can regulate abortion.