Senator Joyce Krawiec of the North Carolina General Assembly discusses SB 359 – Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, a bill that she sponsors and Governor Roy Cooper recently vetoed. Sen. Krawiec explains the necessity of this and other pro-life bills currently in the NC Legislature, and why North Carolinians should urge their legislators to override the Governor’s veto.
JOHN RUSTIN: Thank you for joining us today for Family Policy Matters. Issues relating to the sanctity of human life have taken an especially prominent role in our nation’s dialogue in recent months as a bill was approved in the State of New York that would essentially allow abortion up to the point of birth. Lawmakers in the Commonwealth of Virginia considered a similar bill and fortunately that measure was defeated, but just barely. However, in the process, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, a pediatric neurologist by training, made some truly remarkable comments in support of the bill that were tantamount to endorsing infanticide.
Now here in North Carolina, our state lawmakers are engaged in debate regarding several bills that would actually continue to strengthen our state’s protections for unborn children and we have a member of the North Carolina Senate with us today to discuss these very important measures. Senator Joyce Krawiec is in her third term in the North Carolina Senate, representing Forsyth and Davie Counties. She serves as co-chairman of the Senate Health Care Committee and also serves on the Appropriations Committee on Health and Human Services. Senator Krawiec is a primary sponsor of four significant pro-life bills that have been filed this session, including Senate Bill 359, the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, which recently passed the State Legislature but was vetoed by Governor Roy Cooper. Senator Krawiec, welcome to Family Policy Matters. It’s a pleasure to have you on the show.
JOYCE KRAWIEC: Thank you, John. It’s a pleasure to be with you.
JOHN RUSTIN: Senator Krawiec, as we begin, I just want to let our listeners know that we’re so grateful for your leadership on these and many other issues, and we’ve had a longstanding relationship with you well before you were in the State Senate, and consider you to be not only a representative in our State Legislature, but also a good friend. So thank you for all the work that you do on issues of importance like life, religious liberty, and things of that nature.
JOYCE KRAWIEC: Thank you, John, and thank you for the work that you do that strengthens our ability to do what we do.
JOHN RUSTIN: Thank you so much! It is a team effort, without a doubt. Let’s get started with Senate Bill 359, the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, which the General Assembly passed with bipartisan support in both chambers, but Governor Roy Cooper vetoed. What is the purpose of this bill and why do you think Governor Cooper vetoed it?
JOYCE KRAWIEC: Governor Cooper was very disingenuous with his remarks when he did veto the bill. He said virtually that it doesn’t really happen, that we already have laws that protect this. Recently our nonpartisan staff, they have weighed in and said we do not have laws, which was the point that I was trying to make during the debate on the floor. We do not have laws currently in place to protect those infants that are born alive after an abortion attempt. The Governor was just disingenuous with it. So I’m hoping that now that our nonpartisan staff has weighed in and agreed with me that no, babies are not protected when they are born alive. You know, you couldn’t kill them as we’ve heard that some doctors have done in other states—we’ve heard those horror stories—but you don’t have to offer medical care. And that’s what this bill would do. It would say if that baby survived an abortion attempt, you would administer the same degree of healthcare that you would to any other infant who was born at that gestational age. You would get emergency care for it and you would do all you could to administer that care. And that’s basically all the bill does.
JOHN RUSTIN: I think the fact that some of the opponents of the bill have argued that these measures are unnecessary because we already have laws in place suggests just how truly common sense and important this bill is, and why not go ahead and pass it and ensure that these protections are in place even if you say you have some doubt, or may be, in some people’s minds, unnecessary? We have a lot of medical experts, including the CDC, who say that children who survive attempted abortions are killed, and there are substantiated reports of that taking place. Senator Krawiec, what do you think the likelihood is that the State Senate and the State House will muster the votes necessary to override the Governor’s veto of this bill?
JOYCE KRAWIEC: I’m not sure about that. Frankly, I was surprised. I did not think the governor would veto the Born Alive bill. I knew that he probably would some of the other bills, but I really didn’t think he would veto the Born Alive. It’s common sense, and I didn’t think that he would, but he did. So that, of course, has certainly given me concern that we won’t be able to override his veto. But we’re certainly going to try. And we did have, on the Senate side, two Democrats who voted with us in the majority to pass this legislation. But I don’t know, it’s different in voting for a bill than it is to override your governor. So I’m not sure that they will stick with us, but I’m certainly talking with both of those who did vote with us on that bill and hopefully we can get enough votes that we can override the veto.
JOHN RUSTIN: Well, we hope and pray the same. And we are also working in our capacity down at the General Assembly to encourage members on both the Senate side and the House side to support this legislation. Even those who may have voted against it when the bill was on the floor of the Senate and the House, that they really reconsider and understand exactly what this bill is about. And as you so well testified on the floor of the Senate, this bill really is not about abortion. It is about saving and preserving and valuing the lives of these newborn babies.
JOYCE KRAWIEC: That’s right. Also John, one thing I want to add, you mentioned in the beginning, the New York law and the Virginia law that was attempted. I want to make your listeners aware: A similar bill was filed here in our Senate last session. It was not re-filed this session, but Democrats in the Senate filed a bill last session, basically, to do the same thing, to lift the 20-week ban, so abortions could be performed up until birth.
JOHN RUSTIN: I think that’s very important for folks to know that we hear about these efforts in other states, but there have been proposals in North Carolina to do exactly the same thing here.
Senator Krawiec, you’ve also sponsored two other bills that would ban abortions in North Carolina in certain circumstances. The first of those is Senate Bill 547, the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, and this would add North Carolina to the growing list of states that have banned abortion after an unborn child can feel pain, and that’s determined, by the bill, to be at 20 weeks of pregnancy. Tell us why this bill is so important and necessary.
JOYCE KRAWIEC: You may have heard recently, a judge basically said that our ban—our 20-week ban on abortion—was not valid because gestational age varies at the time of development. Some are 20 weeks, some are longer, some are less, according to the judge’s ruling. So by that measure, he said that legislation was not valid and I believe it’s being challenged. I’m not sure where it will end up, but many states, 16 states, have adopted a Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act similar to ours, and there has been no challenges thus far. And I think there is consensus around the medical community and the scientific community that babies can feel pain, usually at about 16 weeks they start to feel pain. They’ve done a lot of research on that. So we believe that the Pain Capable Act would at least protect babies from 20 weeks going forward.
JOHN RUSTIN: Senator Krawiec, the other bill that would limit abortions in North Carolina is Senate Bill 51, the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment. Talk about that a little bit. I mean obviously, we’re on a lot of Christian radio stations and so we want to be sensitive to that. But why in the world is such a brutal procedure utilized by the abortion industry?
JOYCE KRAWIEC: It’s unbelievable that we even need such a bill as this. The dismemberment abortion is the most brutal kind. It’s usually done on babies at later term, because they have to be dismembered before they can be extracted from the womb.
JOHN RUSTIN: If anyone has seen the movie Unplanned, it really pulls the curtain back on just the atrocities of the abortion industry and the abortion process itself. Senator Krawiec, that last bill we want to discuss today is geared toward giving women important information as they contemplate the life-altering decision to procure an abortion. Tell us a little bit about Senate Bill 52, which is entitled A Second Chance for LIFE.
JOYCE KRAWIEC: This bill is the abortion pill reversal, and the only thing that we are asking in this particular bill is that you give women information. In that procedure the first pill is taken and then I think, two or three days later, the second pill is taken. The information that we are requiring in this bill is that the facility supply women with information saying: If you change your mind, there is a procedure. It has to be done within 72 hours. There is a treatment that can reverse that abortion. Now those on the other side will tell you—doctors will tell you—that it is not scientific, that they don’t want to supply this information because it’s not scientifically factual or proven. Well, there are hundreds and hundreds of babies that have been born as a result of this abortion pill reversal procedure. I’ve spoken with the doctors who have administered this to reverse that first pill. There is nearly a 70 percent success rate. It doesn’t always work, but 70 percent of the time it works. And those babies, they will also argue that there may be birth defects. That is absolutely not true. The birth defect rate on those babies is less than the general population of babies. So, the “facts” they will tell you are not true facts, they are scare tactics. We’re always talking about a woman’s right to choose. Let her choose. If she changes her mind, let her have that choice, and let her know that there is a procedure that can save her baby.
JOHN RUSTIN: What an important piece of information that is for a woman who takes that step to take that first drug but then has a real change of heart and a change of mind. Senator Krawiec, as I mentioned at the onset of the program, we’ve known each other for many, many years and you’re a very busy person and we’re grateful for your leadership. Where does your commitment to the sanctity of human life come from?
JOYCE KRAWIEC: It’s been an ongoing process, but I didn’t pay a lot of attention when I was younger. I was involved with my own family and my own life. I was always pro-life, but I wasn’t engaged. Of course, my faith drives everything that I do. God just opened my eyes that this is just evil. It is just so much going on in the abortion industry. When we saw the videos uncovered about the sale of the body parts and what they do. And so my eyes became so open that it was so blatant that we were taking so many lives. It was never about the babies. It was never about that human life. I just became very passionate about doing everything that I could to make sure that I was involved in that process. And God led me where I am and I’m just blessed that I’m able to work to make a difference in the lives of so many babies, and I hope that’s what some of these bills will do.
JOHN RUSTIN: Well, absolutely. And I can’t reiterate how grateful we are for your leadership, for your commitment and your work, especially in this session of the General Assembly on these important bills. I do want to mention for the benefit of our listeners that they can go to the North Carolina Family Policy Council website at ncfamily.org, and if you visit the Action Center on our website, you can send correspondence to your State Legislators in the House and the Senate to encourage them to support these very important bills. And with that, Senator Joyce Krawiec, I want to thank you so much for being with us on Family Policy Matters today, and for your incredible service and commitment to the citizens of North Carolina, including unborn children.
JOYCE KRAWIEC: Thank you so much, John. Pleasure to be with you. Thank you for your work.
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