States Attempt To Advance Born-Alive Protections

In recent weeks, bills to protect born-alive abortion survivors have passed in North Carolina and Wisconsin. North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) vetoed his state’s born-alive legislation on April 18, 2019. Gov. Cooper made the following statement about the bill:

Laws already protect newborn babies and this bill is an unnecessary interference between doctors and their patients. This needless legislation would criminalize doctors and other healthcare providers for a practice that simply does not exist.

Gov. Cooper’s statement is factually and logically defective; it is also morally repugnant. The Governor failed to acknowledge that the federal law protecting born-alive abortion survivors lacks enforcement mechanisms. Gov. Cooper’s second sentence contradicts itself; if the “practice” of refusing to provide care for born-alive abortion survivors (or, worse yet, murdering them outright) really did not exist, no doctors or other healthcare providers would be “criminalized” by the passage of the bill. Furthermore, the Governor’s assertion that requiring medical treatment for newborns interferes with the physician-patient relationship only makes sense if he believes that, in some circumstances, a physician and a patient might otherwise decide to withhold medical care from a born-alive infant.

A born-alive survivors bill has passed the Legislature in Wisconsin as well. Unfortunately, Gov. Tony Evers (D) has said that he will veto it, arguing that the bill is “redundant” and “not a productive use of time.” In Montana, Gov. Steve Bullock (D) is expected to veto the born-alive bill that was passed by his state’s legislature. Thankfully, a born-alive bill is moving forward in Texas, where Gov. Greg Abbott (R) has expressed support.

According to a biased article in Politico, Democrats contend that “‘born alive’ measures would prevent doctors from providing appropriate care and add emotional pain to already tough medical decisions.” In response, we ask: Exactly what type of “appropriate care” would born-alive bills prevent doctors from providing?