North Carolina Senate votes to override veto of Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act

Equally tight vote expected in the House on Thursday

By Dave Andrusko

North Carolina State Sen. Joyce Krawiec

Late last night, NRL News Today updated our story on the veto override vote in North Carolina. We were able to share the happy news that by the absolute narrowest of margins, the state Senate had voted to override the veto of Gov. Roy Cooper of a bill that would do no more than require that an abortion survivor receive the same medical treatment (no more but no less) than a baby who is delivered at the same age under normal circumstances.

The vote to override Cooper’s veto of Senate Bill 359 was 30-20—exactly the 60% required. A vote in the North Carolina House is tentatively scheduled for tomorrow.

SB 359 passed both houses of the state legislature by comfortable margins but short of 60% in each. Some support from Democrats was essential. Reporter Will Doran explained what was required and what happened:

The bill originally passed the Senate 28-19, with several Republicans absent that day. All but two Democrats voted no originally — Sen. Ben Clark of Hoke County and Sen. Don Davis of Pitt County. But on Tuesday, all the Republicans were present for the vote. And even though Clark switched on Tuesday to side with Cooper, Davis provided the final vote that Republicans needed to override the veto.

As they have everywhere, Democrats argued that babies who survived abortions were already protected by state law—that the effort to pass SB 359 is “unnecessary and misleading.”

But Republicans say they believe there is a loophole in state law that would allow doctors to get away with killing newborn babies through purposeful negligence, since doctors don’t currently have a legal duty to care for newborn babies.

“This bill is nothing except requiring care for a newborn child, separate from its mother, born alive,” Sen. Joyce Krawiec, a Forsyth County Republican who sponsored the bill, in the Senate debate Tuesday. …

“It’s a sad day when we have to come back here because we have a governor who decided making a political statement was more important than protecting living newborn babies,” Krawiec said.

According to newspaper accounts, while two Democratic votes were necessary in the Senate, “several” House Democrats would have to vote in favor of the veto override.

The “Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act” simply forbids discrimination in the treatment of a baby who survives the abortionist’s assault. Here is the language. If the baby is born alive, any health care practitioner present must “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 the law also has teeth. There are criminal and civil penalties for abortionists who do not provide non-discriminatory care of babies who survive an attempted abortion.