A North Carolina legislative committee has approved a bill to protect newborns who survive abortions from infanticide. The vote follows another by the Texas Senate on legislation that also requires appropriate medical care for babies who survive abortions.
Senate Bill 359 requires doctors to provide the same care to an infant that survives an abortion as they give any other newborn. It includes a duty for health care practitioners to report any violations, and it makes those violations a class D felony, the same category as arson, armed robbery and voluntary manslaughter.
The bill, which has inspired passionate debate, cleared the Senate Rules Committee Thursday. Supporters say it’s not an abortion bill — though the phrase “abortion survivors” is in the title they gave it — but about ensuring that basic care is provided to infants that survive abortions.
There is also a House version of this bill, which moved through committee Thursday, largely on a party-line vote.
State Rep. James Gailliard, a pastor from Nash County, was the only Democrat to vote for House Bill 602 in committee Thursday. This version will go to the House Rules Committee before heading to the chamber floor.
The North Carolina and Texas bills are similar to federal legislation that pro-abortion Democrats are blocking in the U.S. House and Senate. The Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act requires abortionists to provide the same level of medical care to an infant who survives an abortion as a doctor would to any other baby at the same stage of life.
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Currently, 19 states do not have laws requiring medical care for babies born alive after botched abortions, according to research by Americans United for Life. However, Kentucky lawmakers are considering legislation similar to the Texas bill.
Some states never have passed laws to protect abortion survivors, while at least one other, New York, recently repealed its law requiring medical care for infants who survive abortions.
Reports by the Centers for Disease Control indicate that there are infants born alive after botched abortions in the U.S. According to Congressional testimony:
Data that the CDC collects also confirms babies are born alive after attempted abortions. Between the years 2003 and 2014 there were somewhere between 376 and 588 infant deaths under the medical code P96.4 which keeps track of babies born alive after a “termination of pregnancy.”
The CDC concluded that of the 588 babies, 143 were “definitively” born alive after an attempted abortion and they lived from minutes to one or more days, with 48% of the babies living between one to four hours. It also admitted that it’s possible the number is an underestimate (B).
Data from other countries suggest the same. In 2018, for example, the Canadian Institute of Health Information reported 766 late-term, live-birth abortions over a five-year period. In Western Australia, at least 27 babies survived abortions between 1999 and 2016, according to the state’s health minister.
Several known abortion survivors, including Melissa Ohden, Josiah Presley, Giana Jessen and Claire Culwell have been giving their testimonies in government hearings across the country this year. Some of them recently appeared on Fox News to urge Congress to pass a law requiring abortionists to provide basic medical care to babies who are born alive in botched abortions.