Pro-life senators introduced the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act on February 2, which would require that abortion facilities and medical providers treat babies born alive during failed abortions with appropriate medical care that would be provided to any newborn of the same age.
Introduced by Senators James Lankford (R-Okla.) and John Thune (R-S.D.), the legislation ensures that abortion survivors are considered legal persons for all purposes under United States law and are entitled to protection under the law. It defines abortion as “the use or prescription of any instrument, medicine, drug, or any other substance or device — (A) to intentionally kill the unborn child of a woman known to be pregnant; or (B) to intentionally terminate the pregnancy of a woman known to be pregnant, with an intention other than — (i) after viability, to produce a live birth and preserve the life and health of the child born alive; or (ii) to remove a dead unborn child.”
The bill states, “Any health care practitioner present at the time the child is born alive shall (A) 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; and (B) following the exercise of skill, care, and diligence required under subparagraph (A), ensure that the child born alive is immediately transported and admitted to a hospital.”
Any medical provider that fails to comply with the bill should it become law could face civil liability and criminal charges including fines and/or imprisonment for up to five years. The mother cannot be prosecuted but can pursue damages against the person who carried out the abortion on her baby.
While opponents of laws that protect abortion survivors claim that such individuals are a “pro-life myth,” data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that over the course of 12 years, more than a hundred infants were reported to have survived abortions. Only about half of all U.S. states require the reporting of abortion complications, and there are no federal requirements for abortion reporting of any kind. In Minnesota, five children were reported by the state to have been born alive during abortions in 2021 alone. And in Florida, eight children are reported by the state to have survived abortions in 2022 alone. The fate of these abortion survivors is unknown.
In addition, according to data collected by the Abortion Survivors Network (ASN), for every 1,000 abortions, about two babies are born alive.
On January 10, the House passed its own Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act in a 220-210 vote. The Senate version, however, is not expected to pass.
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