Alabama Committee Passes Bill to Stop Infanticide, Care for Babies Born Alive After Abortions

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Mar 12, 2020   |   9:59AM   |   Montgomery, Alabama

Alabama lawmakers advanced legislation Wednesday to protect newborns who survive abortions from infanticide.

The Birmingham News reports the state House Judiciary Committee voted in favor of Gianna’s Law, House Bill 248, named after abortion survivor Gianna Jessen.

Sponsored by state Rep. Ginny Shaver, R-Leesburg, the bill requires abortionists to “exercise reasonable care to preserve the life of a child born alive after an abortion or attempted abortion in an abortion or reproductive health center.” It also includes penalties for abortionists who fail to provide basic medical care to babies who survive abortions.

Shaver told her fellow lawmakers that she used to be a counselor for pregnant women and post-abortive women, according to the report. In that work, she said she heard stories from women about babies surviving abortions.

“I know of multiple cases,” Shaver said. “But I’m not going to reveal anything about those folks that have confided in me. They are not willing to come forward and be public and I don’t blame them.”

State Rep. Chris England, D-Tuscaloosa, who voted against the bill, pushed Shaver for more information and asked why she did not report the cases to authorities, the report continues.

“It was after the fact by the time that I heard about it,” Shaver replied. “All I’m asking that if a baby is born alive during an abortion or attempted abortion that that doctor try to save that baby’s life.”

Alabama lawmakers tried to protect unborn babies by banning abortions completely in 2019, but the courts blocked the state from enforcing the law.

Shaver’s bill would provide at least some protections for babies who survive abortions. It simply requires abortionists to provide the same degree of care to a baby who survives an abortion that would be provided to any other baby born at the same gestational age.

Staci Fox, president of Planned Parenthood Southeast Advocates, slammed the bill as “anti-women’s health.”

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Infanticide by actively killing a baby is illegal already, and pro-abortion Democrats point to those laws to claim legislation like Shaver’s is not necessary. But her legislation is necessary to protect abortion survivors from dying from a lack of basic medical care. The penalties for abortionists who fail to provide that care also are important measures that hold the abortion industry accountable.

Though babies’ survivals have been called “imaginary” and protections for them unnecessary, state health statistics indicates that at least 40 babies were born alive after botched abortions in just three states between 2016 and 2018. According to the state health data, 11 babies were born alive after botched abortions in Minnesota, 10 in Arizona and 19 in Florida.

Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control, as well as the personal testimonies of nurses and abortion survivors themselves, also provide evidence that babies survive abortions. According to the CDC, at least 143 babies were born alive after botched abortions between 2003 and 2014 in the U.S., though there likely are more.

Research by the American Center for Law and Justice estimated the number is much higher, at least 362 between 2001 and 2010.

Currently, about 18 states do not have laws to protect abortion survivors from infanticide. Some states never have passed laws to protect abortion survivors, while at least two others, New York and Illinois, repealed their laws requiring medical care for infants who survive abortions.

In 2019, Texas passed a law strengthening protections for infants who survive abortions. West Virginia also passed a law to protect babies from infanticide this winter.

However, pro-life advocates lamented that U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Congressional Democrats have not been cooperative with similar federal legislation. In 2019, Pelosi blocked the federal Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act more than 80 times.