“Born Alive” bill passes Arizona Senate

By Dave Andrusko

The Arizona Senate took an important first step forward Wednesday when it passed a born-alive bill, 16-13.

Sen. Janae Shamp’s Senate Bill 1600 “would amend the existing law to view an infant who is delivered alive as a legal person with the same rights to medically appropriate and reasonable care as anyone else,” Caitlin Sievers reported.

“I will always stand to protect those who cannot protect themselves,” Sen. Shamp said. 

Democrats charged that in some cases such treatment would amount to “torture.”

“Shamp countered that, because the bill says health care workers must provide ‘medically appropriate and reasonable care,’ doctors could decide to provide only comfort care to the infant and family, if that’s what they thought was best,” according to Sievers.

Passions ran high during February 14th debate in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee,  Sievers reported.

Nicole Cestaro told the committee that she was pressured to abort her child, who was born last May, because her daughter had trisomy 18, a chromosomal condition that causes slow growth and organ abnormalities. 

Her daughter was born without complications but only lived about a week, and doctors did nothing to try to save her, Cestaro said. 

“She died in our arms,” Cestaro told the committee. “It was a moment no parent should have to experience.” 

She added that her daughter deserved to continue fighting for life with the help of her doctors. 

“She was loved, she was wanted, her life held immeasurable value,” Cestaro said.

Ron Johnson, executive director of the Arizona Catholic Conference, also strongly supported Senate Bill 1600.

 “We believe in the dignity of human life from conception to natural death,” Johnson told the committee.