North Carolina Senate passes bill to protect abortion survivors despite previous veto

abortion survivor, Wyoming

The North Carolina Senate passed the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Act (S.B. 405) on Wednesday, May 12, 2021. The bill now heads to the North Carolina House of Representatives. This legislation, which passed by a vote of 28-21, seeks to ensure that babies accidentally born alive during abortions are given the same medical treatment that any premature infant born at the same age would receive. 

A similar bill that passed the state legislature with bipartisan support was vetoed in 2019 by Democrat Governor Roy Cooper. He defended his decision saying that legal protections for born-alive survivors caused “unnecessary interference between doctors and their patients” and falsely claimed that the bill would “criminalize doctors and other health care providers for a practice that simply does not exist.” At the time, the North Carolina House fell five votes short of overriding Cooper’s veto.

The Centers for Disease Control reported that at least 143 children were born alive during abortions between 2003 and 2014. Their fate is unknown. The CDC noted that this could be an underestimation, and only some states choose to report statistics on infants born alive during abortions.

READ: Reports from just five states reveal over 100 babies born alive during abortions in recent years

Republican State Senator Joyce Krawiec, who sponsored the 2019 version and the bill that passed on Wednesday, said S.B. 405 is about legally ensuring newborns are treated as human beings after the abortion is botched. “By all definitions, [they’re] a living, breathing human being – a person, a citizen,” Krawiec said. 

The bill affirms that infants born alive after botched abortions have the “the same claim to the protection of the law that would arise for any newborn,” which would require that medical staff “exercise the same degree of professional skill, care, and diligence to preserve the life and health of the child as a reasonably diligent and conscientious health care practitioner would render to any other child born alive at the same gestational age.”

Democrat state Senator Natalie Murdock repeated the false claim that babies born alive after botched abortions is a nonexistent occurrence and not “an actual problem that exists in the state.” She reduced the bill to a Republican attempt to “demonize and stigmatize” abortionists and women seeking to abort their children.

The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Act is also expected to pass in the state House, which recently passed the Human Life Non-Discrimination Act (H.B. 453). If enacted, this bill will ban “eugenic abortions,” which target for elimination preborn babies on the basis of race or disabilities, such as Down syndrome. 

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