Written by Reaghan Waites, intern at Civitas Institute
Fueled by outrage over pro-abortion policies in New York and Virginia, a fresh wave of pro-life legislation has been approved in such states as Louisiana, Alabama, and Missouri, to name a few. North Carolina joined the ranks of these trailblazing states with the “Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act.” The bill requires medical providers to care for babies born alive after an attempted abortion and places a mandatory reporting of noncompliance on healthcare practitioners and hospital employees.
After approval by the House and Senate, the bill was vetoed by Gov. Cooper as “unnecessary” because the practice addressed in the bill “does not exist” and “laws already protect newborn babies.” The Senate overrode the governor’s veto in April, and the House is scheduled to vote on Wednesday.
Gov. Cooper’s veto has two main problems:
First, the scenario the bill protects against is in fact occurring:
Currently, a doctor has no legal duty of care to a child born-alive from a failed abortion. Unfortunately, medical providers take advantage of this loophole, despite Governor Cooper’s efforts to deny the existence of such a practice. Kelsea McClain of Triangle for Choice admits that when the born alive scenario occurs, “it’s happening in a hospital setting.”
This means that children are being left to die in hospitals after failed abortions. This is a truth that should shock the conscience of anyone, regardless of religion or political affiliation. It is also a violation of the oath doctors take to “apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures which are required.”
In addition, the bill also requires individuals to report any failure to comply with the bill. Given the sensitive and offensive nature of leaving a child to die, medical professionals and those involved are not eager to share with the public details- or even the existence of such a practice. The mandatory reporting requirement will shed light on a practice the general public has no way of knowing under current law.
Second, the Born-Alive bill is necessary to protect newborn babies. Cooper’s claim that there are already laws sufficient to produce this end is false.
Currently, NC general statutes define homicide for a child born alive under “Lily’s Law”. This legislation addresses a child born alive that dies as a result of injuries inflicted prior to the child’s birth. It is silent, however, on death resulting from failure to provide care after birth. This is why the Born Alive bill is important and fills a need.
Gov. Cooper and those in opposition to the bill are turning a blind eye to the failure of many healthcare providers to adequately provide care to babies born from a failed abortion.
The Born-Alive bill requires healthcare providers to exercise a “reasonably diligent and conscientious” standard of care to a child born alive as the result of a failed abortion. This standard of care echoes the behavior a healthcare provider would render to any other child born alive at the same gestational age.
SB 359 also gives legal rights to unborn infants by endowing “personhood” on children born alive resulting from a failed abortion. The bill specifies that an intentional attempt or performance of an “overt act” to kill a child born alive would be punishable under already existing state law for murder.
Opponents of the bill complain that the law would force a doctor to provide care to unwanted babies. Lifesaving care is an easy choice to make despite the disheartening trend towards the disposal of human life and the desire to avoid inconvenience at all costs. Convenience is not an excuse for the failure to do what is right.
Despite the difficulty of the circumstances, we must remember: just because a child is unwanted does not change its inherent value. An unwanted child deserves the same care a wanted child receives.
That’s a message everyone- regardless of political affiliation- should be able to get behind.