In February of this year, the federal Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act failed to reach the required number of votes in the Senate to even bring to the floor for a vote. However, some states have taken up their own efforts to protect children who survive abortion. A week ago, the Wyoming Legislature passed a new born-alive abortion survivor protection bill. Named File 97 in the Wyoming Senate, the bill provides protection for all babies who survive abortion, and also penalizes doctors who do not provide medical care for such infants with up to 14 years in prison and a felony charge. The bill reads:
The commonly accepted means of care that would be rendered to any other infant born alive shall be employed in the treatment of any viable infant aborted alive. Any physician performing an abortion shall take medically appropriate and reasonable steps to preserve the life and health of an infant born alive. The parents of an infant born alive shall not be held criminally or civilly liable for the actions of a physician under this section.
When the necessity of the bill was questioned by the Wyoming chapter of American Civil Liberties Union among others, it was clarified that although Wyoming currently counts attempted infanticide as a crime, this bill points out that the circumstances involving the infanticide of an abortion survivor would be legally considered a “lack of medical care.”
Other attempts to thwart and/or change the bill included a suggestion by Rep. Eric Barlow (R-Gillette) to reduce the punishment of a felony charge and up to 14 years in prison down to 1 year in prison with a $1,000 fine. However, according to the Wyoming Tribune Eagle, Rep. Scott Clem (R-Gillette) defended the original bill’s penalties by saying, “If you have a baby that is born alive that is viable, that should be charged with a felony, because you actually tried to abort a viable baby. We’re talking about a botched abortion, a baby that is born alive, and we’re not going to give it any treatment, and the worst that doctor is going to get is (a) $1,000 (fine).”
The bill currently awaits Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon’s signature. Gordon has previously signed pro-life legislation into law.
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