By Dave Andrusko
In spite of a valiant effort, pro-lifers in North Carolina came up short of overriding Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of a bill to protect abortion survivors.
In April the Senate voted to override Cooper’s veto of Senate Bill 359. Alas, on Wednesday, the House failed to muster the three-fifths majority. The final tally was 67-53.
“The defeat of the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act underscores the need for North Carolina voters to elect a pro-life governor and legislature in 2020,” said Barb Holt, executive director of North Carolina Right to Life. “No pro-life bills will be signed into law if Cooper remains governor.”
The Charlotte Observer reported that GOP Rep. Pat McElraft, the bill’s chief spokeswoman in the House, said, “We are obviously horrified this veto override failed.”
McElraft accused Democrats of “making blocking the bill their top legislative priority.”
“Everyone has value,” Gianna Jessen said at a Legislative Building news conference before the vote, describing a 1977 saline abortion she survived. “I’m so grateful to be alive.”
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.
As did his fellow pro-abortion Democrats, Gov. Cooper said the law was unnecessary– that babies who survived abortions were already protected by state law.
But during the Senate debate, Republicans emphasized that “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,” according to Will Doran of the Charlotte Observer.
“This bill is nothing except requiring care for a newborn child, separate from its mother, born alive,” said Sen. Joyce Krawiec, a Forsyth County Republican who sponsored the bill.
“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.