Human Rights

New Arizona law adds greater protections, protocols for babies who survive abortion

Yesterday, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed into law new protections for babies born alive during abortion. According to the Arizona Capitol Times, the law “provides the first-ever definition in statute of being ‘delivered alive,'” and “includes any fetus or embryo, no matter how premature, [who] shows breathing, a heartbeat, umbilical cord pulsation or ‘definite movement of voluntary muscles.'” Furthermore, if that child is past 20 weeks gestation, the facility…

… must have someone available with neonatal skills to care for the child if born alive. And the state Department of Health Services is now required to develop a list of “protocols,” exactly what has to be done, along with what equipment must be available in those facilities.

AZ Family notes that the bill “mandates enhanced reporting” of such incidents, and “provides exemptions for fetuses… [prenatally] diagnosed with a ‘lethal fetal condition.'”

In perhaps the most sadly ironic of objections, pro-abortion organizations and lawmakers voiced their concern that attempting to save children who survive the violent process of abortion would unnecessarily prolong their lives and cause them to suffer.

But Republican Rep. Eddie Farnsworth told the Capitol Times that requiring care for infants born alive, even those born before 24 weeks (which is when “current medical thinking” puts the beginning of viability, he said), is absolutely crucial, saying, “You don’t ever know when a 20-weeker is going to come out and be viable.” Farnsworth also added that “having a definition of being alive” means doctors will not be able to arbitrarily ignore the existing law or “determine what actions to take or not take.”

Refusing to help a baby who hasn’t reached viability could be considered “negligent homicide,” he said.

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