A recent bill introduced in Maryland garnered outrage after it was discovered that the bill would effectively legalize infanticide.
SB 669, or the Pregnant Person’s Freedom Act of 2022, would prevent investigations and legal penalties for abortion at any point in the pregnancy, as well as “perinatal” deaths caused by “failure to act.” The phrase “perinatal death” is, specifically, what has so many people angry; perinatal is a vague term with different meanings according to different organizations. The World Health Organization defines perinatal as the period between 23 weeks gestation and seven days after birth, though other organizations define it differently.
But in a surprising turn of events, Senate Bill Sponsor William Smith has cancelled the hearing on the bill, originally scheduled for Tuesday; Life News is reporting that he plans to remove the “perinatal” section of the bill.
Olivia Summers, a lawyer with the American Center for Law and Justice, explained why this bill is so insidious.
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!
Additionally, the bill decriminalizes death by neglect within the first 28 days of life. “If no investigation can be conducted, what else can it be called?” National Review columnist Wesley Smith pointed out. “For example, a baby born with a disability could be allowed to die by refusing ordinary methods of care or medical treatment.” Parents who are investigated for deaths due to neglect would be allowed to sue the authorities investigating them.
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