Wyoming Legislature Passes Bill to Stop Infanticide, Care for Babies Born Alive After Abortions

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Mar 13, 2020   |   1:22PM   |   Cheyenne, Wyoming

Wyoming lawmakers gave their final approval Wednesday of a bill to protect newborn babies who survive abortions from infanticide.

KGAB reports the state House passed the bill in a 44-16 vote and sent it to Republican Gov. Mark Gordon for his signature. The state Senate passed the bill earlier this year.

Senate File 97, sponsored by Sen. Cheri Steinmetz, R-Lingle, requires abortionists to “take medically appropriate and reasonable steps to preserve the life and health of an infant born alive” from an abortion. Abortionists who fail to do so could be punished with up to 14 years in prison.

Steinmetz said her bill clarifies existing law to ensure babies are protected.

“I would like to see Wyoming be known as a place where we live up to our name, the Equality State, where everyone is equally protected under the law,” she told KGAB prior to the vote.

Infanticide by actively killing a baby is illegal already, and pro-abortion Democrats point to those laws to claim legislation like Steinmetz’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.

According to the Star-Tribune, some lawmakers raised concerns that “the legislation strips the rights of parents and their doctors to spare suffering for children born with profound birth defects.” Others claimed it would be unfair to punish doctors who do not provide basic medical care to a baby who “has serious medical issues that would make the child incompatible for life,” the report states.

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But these are dangerous arguments that smack of eugenics, and they are precisely why such legislation is needed. It should not matter if a newborn is healthy or sick; that baby deserves the same basic medical care as any other child. Sometimes, a baby has a fatal disorder and comfort care is all that is needed. In other cases, a baby who survives an abortion will live and grow into a thriving adult if they receive basic medical care.

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.

Some states do not have laws to protect abortion survivors from infanticide, though the number is shrinking. This week, lawmakers in Alabama also moved forward with legislation to protect newborns from infanticide. West Virginia also passed a law to protect babies from infanticide this winter.  However, New York and Illinois recently repealed their laws requiring medical care for infants who survive abortions.

Pro-life advocates also 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.