Human Rights

New Mexico Democrats kill bill that would have saved babies born alive in failed abortions

A commonsense bill that would have required lifesaving care for babies born alive in a failed abortion has been killed by New Mexico Democrats. The committee vote was 3-2, along party lines.

It was the second failed attempt at protecting New Mexico’s most vulnerable. Last year, New Mexico Alliance for Life (NMAFL) helped draft a similar bill that also died in committee, when a Republican cast the deciding vote. This year’s version, HB 37, the Born Alive Infant bill, would have required physicians who were attempting abortions to “take all medically appropriate and reasonable steps to preserve the life and health of a born alive infant.” If an attempted hospital abortion resulted in a live birth, the bill said the physician would need to “provide immediate medical care to the infant; inform the mother of the live birth; and request transfer of the infant to an on-duty resident or emergency care physician who could provide medical care to the infant.” Other facilities would have been required to provide medical care and call 911 ” for an emergency transfer of the infant to a hospital.”

There were no catches to the bill. Quite simply, it stipulated that if an abortion accidentally resulted in a live birth, the fact that the human was outside the womb meant he or she had a right to live. And New Mexico legislators said no, this time across party lines.

NMAFL reported on the testimony and vote, saying:

Albuquerque Neonatal Intensive Care Unit nurse, Monique Ramirez, works with premature infants and served as an expert witness for HB 37: “These babies have just experienced a very traumatic event and are still alive. Shouldn’t that tell you something? That obviously this baby is meant to be alive and full resuscitation should take place and all efforts should be given to this baby to help this baby survive.”

“If these late abortion survivors are not given proper resuscitation, the next thing we can provide for these babies would be palliative care, by making their last moments of life as comfortable as possible,” Ramirez said, “Even if this is simply to hold the baby while they take their last breath so the last thing that baby feels is love, which we all know is a beautiful thing. Working in an intensive care unit, not all these stories have a happy ending, but we do our best to make the death process a pain-free experience for the baby. They’re given some sedation so that they are calm and relaxed; then they are held as we take out their breathing tubes so that love is the last thing they feel. I don’t know about you, but I hope that I am surrounded by love as I take my last breath here on earth.”

Despite heart-wrenching testimony from Monique Ramirez and countless others, the Democrat committee members coldly voted down this humane, life-saving measure–thereby continuing the cycle of abuse and neglect of infants who survive abortions in our state.

Of course, the reluctance to pass a bill takes on deeper meaning in context of New Mexico’s history. As Live Action reported in January, it is a reality that babies are born alive and left to die, as revealed in a congressional investigation:

[T]he congressional report from the Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives shows that the claimed “expertise” is actually a real issue: it details everything from aborted babies being left to die on the floor without attempts to resuscitate them to a top-level administrator who admits she is unfamiliar with laws related to the practice of abortion.

<Live Action also reported on the Panel’s report notes documenting this occurrence in the parternship between the University of New Mexico and its relationship with later-term abortion facility, Southwestern Women’s Options. The congressional report said:

SWWO openly performs a large quantity of abortions into the third trimester, and UNM Hospital will provide abortions beyond 25 weeks where there is “a maternal indication or a fetal indication.” Yet neither UNM nor SWWO appears to have any apparatus or procedure to ensure the survival of infants who show signs of life following extraction from the uterus. This is evident from [Dr. Administrator]’s deposition testimony when she was questioned on this subject. (292, emphasis added)

Despite the fact that SWWO performed abortions in the third trimester, the infant was not even routinely checked for a heartbeat. This was the case even though [Clinic A Dr. #1] admitted there were cases in which an infant exited the womb spontaneously, before it was expected to do so. The testimony of both abortion providers suggests a lack of medical training and of any sense of obligation to be trained to preserve the life of an infant that survives the abortion procedure. It reflects a philosophy that a right to abortion somehow carries a guarantee of the death of the infant expelled during the procedure (296)

And these findings detail the horror of HB 37’s rejection, that it’s not theory “just in case” but verified practice.  NMAFL’s Executive Director, Elisa Martinez, told Live Action News:

Its well documented in our state that innocent, viable babies are surviving late-term abortions- but denied medical care and/or comfort care. In fact, the doctors who are witnessing this, are not trained in what to do nor do they care. According to congressional deposition from UNM abortionist Dr. Eve Espey and Southwestern Women’s Options abortionist Shannon Carr, a student of Espey’s. We attempted to introduce legislation that would require these infants be given the necessary medical care and comfort care. Common sense right? We wouldn’t let a wounded animal die without food or care, but our elected officials voted this down- thereby allowing this cycle of abuse, neglect and horror to continue unchecked.

Pro-lifers often assert that the most dangerous place for a person is in the womb, but in New Mexico, the danger doesn’t necessarily end when the baby leaves the womb. This committee has made sure of that.

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