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Kentucky bill protecting abortion survivors passes without governor’s signature

preemie, abortion survivor, born alive

Despite vetoing a nearly identical bill last spring, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear allowed a born-alive bill to go into effect in the state without his signature. Rather than sign or veto the bill, he took no action, and after ten days, the law automatically went into effect.

Senate Bill 9 is meant to protect “born-alive infants” from being denied medical care. Children survive abortion attempts more frequently than Americans realize. The bill prohibits medical professionals who commit abortions from denying nourishment to the baby, including those who are “born with a disability” or are “not wanted by the parent or guardian.” It also forces doctors to provide “medically appropriate and reasonable medical care, medical treatment, or surgical care” to abortion survivors as well as to “take all medically appropriate and reasonable steps to preserve the life and health of a born-alive infant.”

Any doctor who fails to provide care to a newborn could face a felony, though opponents of the bill wrongly insist that the denial of care does not happen.

“Everybody on the side related to Senate Bill 9 agreed that it never happens,” said Beshear. “And so this being something that never happens and would likely be illegal under other statutes, we ultimately did not sign it but did not feel the need to veto it.”

READ: Eyewitness: Babies born alive after abortion were drowned in saline

However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, infants do survive abortions. In addition, reports from just five states have shown that more than 100 babies survived their abortions in recent years. Infants who are born prior to 24 weeks are often denied care even though babies have survived births as early as 21 weeks.

Matesi Joy Neumiller recently shared her personal story of watching her daughter Sophia die after doctors refused to provide her with any level of care when she was born at 22 weeks and three days. Sophia lived for more than three hours outside the womb. She was told they might have tried to save Sophia if she had been born just two days later.

“To them, she wasn’t viable. She wasn’t even human, almost. She was just a fetus,” Neumiller told Live Action News. “She wasn’t even a baby to them. That’s what it felt like to me. She wasn’t a life worth fighting for even though she was my whole world.”

Jemarius Jachin Harbor Jr. was born at just 21 weeks and is considered the youngest surviving preemie. Doctors stepped in to help him, and after six months in the neonatal intensive care unit, he went home with his family.

A 2016 study from the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Pediatrics found that up to 71 percent of preemies can survive if given active care instead of just palliative care.

Born alive bills do save lives. Every child deserves their chance at life, not to be left to die because of the circumstances of their birth.

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