The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing last week on the federal Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. As Patrina Mosley, Director of Life, Culture and Women’s Advocacy at the Family Research Council, testified during the hearing, this bill seeks to provide “protections for infants who have clearly become the patient,” by ensuring proper medical care for children born alive after failed abortion attempts.
A multitude of proposed “Born-Alive” measures have come up in multiple states in recent years, and a similar federal law was passed in 2002. The Born-Alive Infants Protection Act of 2002 was intended “to protect infants who are born alive,” by acknowledging that any infant born alive at any stage of development is considered a human being. Unfortunately, this legislation did not explicitly require an abortionist to care for a baby who is born alive after a failed abortion. The updated bill heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee last week—S. 130—was introduced by Senator Ben Sasse (R-Nebraska), and “would enforce penalties against abortionists who refused medical care to [born alive babies].”
The journey of nationwide Born-Alive legislation has been full of highs and lows. On the federal level, Sen. Sasse has introduced this legislation on four separate occasions over a five-year period. The recent hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee was the first such hearing this legislation has received in the U.S. Senate. Last year in the U.S. House, Democratic leaders blocked Republicans 80 times from setting up votes on an identical Born-Alive bill in that chamber.
Here in North Carolina, SB 359—Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act passed both chambers of the General Assembly last year, but was vetoed by Governor Roy Cooper. This bill received sufficient votes in the State Senate to override the veto, but the State House was unable to muster the votes necessary to complete the override.
According to World Magazine, the West Virginia State Senate has recently passed legislation under the same name with a nearly unanimous vote of 93-5. A similar bill was introduced in the Colorado House a month ago. but consideration of the bill has been postponed indefinitely, according to media reports.