Should Babies Who Survive Abortions be Entitled to Lifesaving Medical Care?

Opinion   |   Emily Derois   |   Jun 16, 2016   |   3:06PM   |   Washington, DC

Currently, there is no federal law to make failure to provide standard medical care to children born alive during an abortion a crime. Despite the pro-life Born-Alive Infants Protection Act that President George W. Bush signed into law, abortion practitioners do not regard babies born alive during abortions as persons, and do not provide them with the types of care that would be provided to premature infants who are born spontaneously

The Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act would ensure that babies born alive after failed abortions are given equal protection under the law by requiring all health care practitioners to provide medical treatment to a child born alive after a failed abortion attempt. It passed the U.S. House, but has yet to become law. The U.S. Senate held a hearing on the bill in March.

The bill would also apply stronger penalties in cases where an overt act is taken to kill the abortion survivor. Under the pro-life bill there is also a civil right of action for mothers of children who survive an abortion to hold the abortion provider accountable.

The abortion facility of Kermit Gosnell is one clear case of how much this law is needed. Three years ago, the Philadelphia abortionist was convicted of murdering three newborns. He made millions of dollars by offering abortions to desperate mothers, often late in their pregnancies.

“He delivered living, breathing, struggling newborns, killed them with scissors, and discarded them like waste,” U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Nebraska, wrote recently for the National Review.

Although Gosnell destroyed his medical files, one incident surfaced that revealed his horrific treatment of a baby who was born alive. The National Review described the case: “Dr. Gosnell induced an abortion on a 17-year-old woman who was seven and a half months pregnant. ‘Baby Boy A’ was breathing and moving, weighing in at close to six pounds when the abortionist severed his spine. Gosnell joked that this baby was so big he could ‘walk me to the bus stop.’”



Sasse continued:

“We recoil from Dr. Gosnell’s actions and the neglect of infants because of one beautiful and inescapable truth: Babies are babies. They are not choices to be made, cells to be disposed, or tissue to be sold. They are babies — meant to be welcomed and rejoiced over, embraced and nurtured, held and loved. That’s not a partisan statement — it’s a human reality.”

Sadly, the Gosnell case is only one example of how babies are treated in abortion clinics after surviving an abortion. Clinic workers and mothers have described how children born alive from botched abortions are refused medical treatment or even killed.

One mother watched as her baby died in front of her, with the clinic workers refusing to help him, LifeNews reported. Baby Rowan died after paramedics responded to the 911 call, and the clinic workers refused to let them in the clinic. After witnessing her child born alive, Rowan’s mother said she regretted attempting an abortion. When the abortion workers refused to let the mother call 911, she contacted a friend who called the paramedics. But the clinic refused to let the paramedics help the struggling newborn.

“I want to do everything in my power to see that this does not happen to other babies or mothers,” Rowan’s mother later said.

Melissa Ohden was more fortunate. She is a living, breathing reason why the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act is so important. Ohden survived a saline infusion late-term abortion because she received immediate medical care to save her life. The bill would ensure all babies like her receive that same level of care.

“What I would hope that comes out of this is not only that more children like me are protected and given proper medical care when we survive, but that women receive education,” Ohden told CNS News in March. “We know that when women receive information about human development, they see an ultrasound, they receive the truth about that life inside of them, and I want every woman to have that opportunity. I want every woman to have true choice.”

Children who survive an abortion deserve medical care. Without the legislation, newborns will continue to die in clinics. It is imperative that we protect children born alive.