Analysis

How legal abortion opened the door to pro-infanticide bills

forceps, abortionist, abortion

For years, pro-abortion bioethicists have been promoting after-birth abortion — infanticide — for children with disabilities. In some nations, such as Belgium, infants are already eligible for euthanasia, while some politicians in the United States fight against laws requiring babies who survive abortions to receive medical care. The average American may brush this off as a non-issue and choose to believe such propositions are out of the norm or nothing more than propaganda. But in a seemingly growing trend, pro-abortion legislators now appear to be attempting to legalize infanticide in some states using loopholes and specific language in laws regarding so-called reproductive rights.

The legalization of abortion and the dehumanization of human beings inside the womb has created a cultural war in America over when human life begins, when the right to life begins, and what makes a human being a human being. While every human being is a person who is worthy of life and protection from harm, not everyone agrees with this basic principle. When the discrimination or dehumanization of a group of persons is allowed, then that discrimination will spread unless it is stopped.

The dehumanization of preborn children is leading to the dehumanization of born children.

What pro-abortion bioethicists are saying

In 2012, two medical ethicists argued that doctors should be allowed to end the lives of disabled, or even simply unwanted, newborns based on the false notion that these infants are not “actual persons.” Francesca Minerva and Alberto Guibilini said parents should get a choice to end the lives of their newborns after birth because babies are “morally irrelevant” and have “no moral right to life.”

In 2014, Canadian bioethicist Udo Schuklenk said, “The parents should be able to freely decide on what would amount to postnatal abortion.”

A 2020 research paper shared a shocking poll of health care professionals in Flanders, Belgium, in which 9 in 10 physicians surveyed “agree[d] that in the event of a serious (non-lethal) neonatal condition, administering drugs with the explicit intention to end neonatal life is acceptable.”

READ: Bioethicist defends infanticide, claiming there is no difference between born and preborn babies

Also in 2020, philosopher, ethicist, and professor Peter Singer argued the same, saying that to be fully human, one must be self-aware. Therefore, he said he finds it “challenging” to allow newborns the same rights as older human beings. The full right to life, he believes, doesn’t exist until sometime after birth when a person becomes self-aware.

Australian bioethicist Walter Veit also justified infanticide, saying, “If the biological sciences reveal that there is no morally salient difference between a newborn and a fetus, that is, that they are almost at the same developmental stage, one must abolish the intuitively compelling idea that birth matters morally. It doesn’t.”

It appears that feticide — the homicide of undelivered babies through abortion — isn’t enough for those who do not see all human beings as equal, and who do not differentiate between a fetus and a one-year-old child.

The reasoning behind the push to legalize infanticide is unknown. Perhaps it’s in response to the pro-life push for personhood for undelivered babies, or the guaranteed right to medical care for abortion survivors.

It could also be because the federal government has allowed the abortion pill to be prescribed without an in-person appointment, which could lead to countless babies of all gestational ages being born alive following their mother’s attempted at-home abortion.

Regardless of the reason, pro-abortion lawmakers have begun adding phrasing to so-called “reproductive rights” bills that allows room for infanticide — whether active or passive. While legislation removing medical care rights from abortion survivors is not new, this year alone, legislators in three states have presented bills with language that would essentially legalize infanticide.

California

Assembly Bill 2223 passed the California Assembly Health Committee in an 11-3 vote on April 20, moving the bill to a third house committee. Several legal experts believe wording in the bill allows for infanticide. Following amendments to the original bill, it now states:

Notwithstanding any other law, a person shall not be subject to civil or criminal liability or penalty, or otherwise deprived of their rights under this article, based on their actions or omissions with respect to their pregnancy or actual, potential, or alleged pregnancy outcome, including miscarriage, stillbirth, or abortion, or perinatal death due to a pregnancy-related cause. (emphasis added)

The bill does not define “perinatal death” or “pregnancy-related cause,” leaving a giant loophole for doctors or abortionists to use their own discretion in allowing a baby — from newborn to potentially as old as two years, depending on which definition of “perinatal” is used — to die rather than provide him or her with medical care. These could be children who have survived abortions, children who were born with medical conditions, or premature babies who have a chance at surviving when given proper care.

“These amendments added ‘perinatal death due to pregnancy related cause,’” explained Theresa Brennan, Esq., president of Right to Life League. “The amendments do not address the fact that the bill would continue to chill reporting and investigations of ANY perinatal death because, whether that death was ‘pregnancy related’ or not could only be determined after investigation.”

Colorado

Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed House Bill 22-1279 into law earlier this month, making abortion a “right” in the state and allowing women to make choices about abortion based on the “pregnancy’s outcomes.” This implies that babies who survive abortions — or are born with a health condition that may have gone undiagnosed during pregnancy — could be left to die. Some experts believe this bill, therefore, allows the potential loophole for infanticide.

“Under the rules proposed by this bill, if a child is delivered alive during an abortion the doctors are under no legal compulsion to provide standard medical care as they would in any other circumstance and attempt to preserve the child’s life,” said Live Action’s Director of Government Affairs, Noah Brandt. “Medical providers would listen to the mother’s instructions, which could include not providing life-sustaining medical care to the child, which would lead to the child’s death, which most reasonable people would consider infanticide.”

Maryland

In February, Maryland lawmakers introduced SB 669, or the Pregnant Person’s Freedom Act of 2022. The hearings for the bill were canceled following pushback over the section on perinatal death and the failure to act. The bill’s sponsor Senator William Smith said he plans to remove the “perinatal” section from the bill before continuing with the hearings.

“[T]his bill will effectively legalize infanticide,” said Olivia Summers, an attorney with the American Center for Law and Justice. “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 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.”

As pro-life states move to further tighten restrictions on abortions, pro-abortion legislators are doing the opposite. They are working to ensure abortionists or doctors who carry out infanticide are protected. Whether they call it euthanasia, post-natal abortion, or perinatal death, the killing of defenseless, innocent human beings is never health care and never morally acceptable.

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