By Wesley J. Smith
The Senate is planning to vote the week after next on S.311, “The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act.” Here are its core terms:
Congress finds the following:
(1) If an abortion results in the live birth of an infant, the infant is a legal person for all purposes under the laws of the United States, and entitled to all the protections of such laws.
(2) Any infant born alive after an abortion or within a hospital, clinic, or other facility has the same claim to the protection of the law that would arise for any newborn, or for any person who comes to a hospital, clinic, or other facility for screening and treatment or otherwise becomes a patient within its care.
This is not about, “My body, my choice.” It does not force a woman to do anything with her body. It would become effective only after gestation has concluded. In other words, it would have zero impact on the right to abortion.
The bill would require babies born from a failed abortion to be treated like every other infant in similar circumstances:
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.
The bill has teeth, creating criminal penalties for failing to abide by the equal care provision and for intentionally killing an abortion surviving infant. It also protects the mother from prosecution and allows her to sue for violation of the law’s requirements.
Two things stand out here:
- In a morally decent society, this bill would not be necessary. But given Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s infamous comment approving of neglecting to death babies born after having survived abortion, and New York’s repealing its law requiring abortion-surviving infants to be cared for properly, it clearly is.
- That every Democratic senator is likely to oppose this bill–by voting to refuse to end debate, i.e., filibuster — tells us how radical the Democratic party has become.
Abortion activism has moved from “safe, legal, and rare” to supporting — or at least not opposing — infanticide and/or death by neglect of abortion survivors. I can’t think of a more stark demonstration of how profoundly abortion has corroded the sanctity and equality of human life ethic in our country.
Editor’s note. Wesley’s great columns appear at National Review Online and are reposted with his permission.