Sponsor of Maryland Bill That Legalizes Infanticide Up to 28 Days Cancels Hearing

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 14, 2022   |   6:54PM   |   Washington, DC

The Maryland Democrat who sponsored a radical bill that would legalize infanticide, letting babies die up to 28 days after birth, is reportedly altering his legislation. Senate Bill Sponsor William Smith, the author of SB 669, is supposedly removing the “perinatal” section of the bill and has cancelled a hearing scheduled for Tuesday.

The Pregnant Person’s Freedom Act of 2022 includes a section state that investigations of infanticides would be curtailed: “This section may not be construed to authorize any form of investigation or penalty for a person: … experiencing a miscarriage, perinatal death related to a failure to act, or stillbirth.”

“Perinatal death related to a failure to act,” is the most menacing line in this terrible bill. Perinatal is an imprecise word with many interpretations. The World Health Organization defines it as the period between 23 weeks’ gestation and seven days after birth. Other bodies say the perinatal period ends 28 days after birth.

After massive outcry about the bill online for a week, Smith has reportedly decided to drop that language and has canceled the hearing.

“In a victory for LIFE, Senate Bill Sponsor William Smith has been persuaded to cancel the Senate Bill hearing of the Infanticide Bill. The bill was opposed by MDRTL in committee hearing in the House,” Maryland Right to Life informed LifeNews this afternoon.

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The link to the bill status report on the state legislative web site shows the hearing has been cancelled.

Olivia Summers, a lawyer with the American Center for Law and Justice, pointed out that Maryland — like every other state in the union — has a Safe Haven law that allows mothers to surrender their babies in a safe manner for a month after their birth, with no questions asked and no charges filed. But apparently Maryland Democrats would rather see these babies killed by a “failure to act.”

In this case, as we are prepared to point out in our testimony, the bill also proposes a revision of the fetal murder/manslaughter statute that would serve to handcuff the investigation of infant deaths unrelated to abortion. In other words – this bill will effectively legalize infanticide. The exact language of the bill states: “This section may not be construed to authorize any form of investigation or penalty for a person . . . experiencing a . . . perinatal death related to a failure to act.” (Emphasis added). In other words, a baby born alive and well could be abandoned and left to starve or freeze to death, and nothing could be done to punish those who participated in that cruel death. The bill also includes a section that would allow “a person [to] bring a cause of action for damages if the person was subject to unlawful arrest or criminal investigation for a violation of this section as a result of . . . experiencing a . . . perinatal death.”

Thus, according to this bill, if a baby died because it was abandoned and police investigated and eventually arrested the person responsible for the baby’s death, then the woman could sue the police and get monetary damages for having been investigated and arrested.

And it gets worse. Because the language that is used is without clear definition, the bill could prevent any investigations into the death of infants at least seven days AFTER their birth, and may extend to infants as old as four weeks!

Again, there is no clear definition of the term “perinatal” in the Maryland Code. Note the term used in the legislation is “perinatal,” not prenatal. Prenatal naturally means “before” birth. The medical definition of “perinatal” is vastly different: “The perinatal period is defined in diverse ways. Depending on the definition, it starts at the 20th to 28th week of gestation and ends 1 to 4 weeks after birth.”

And Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life has also condemned the bill:

Some Democrats in Maryland want to end that protection for vulnerable newborns, first by saying they can be killed by a “failure to act,” — for instance, withholding medical care, or nourishment, or a blanket — and then spelling out that neither the “person” who has the baby nor anyone who helps her can be subject to criminal or civil charges. Further, anyone who attempts to prosecute the pregnant person or her accomplice can be sued for damages.

This is what the bill says to me: A baby born alive, after an abortion or during a regular delivery, can be allowed to die within the first days of his or her life, possibly as long as 28 days, and no one will ever be charged with murder because, as the bill also states, “Nothing in this section shall be construed to confer personhood or any rights on the fetus.”

ACTION ALERT: Contact Maryland legislators by going here.