By L.A. Williams
Christian Action League
April 12, 2019
North Carolina senators are expected to take up the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act Monday night following the bill’s swift, but not uncontested, journey through the Senate’s Judiciary Committee and Rules and Operations Committee this week.
Filed in response to recent efforts in New York and Virginia to legalize infanticide by offering unlimited access to abortion all the way up to delivery, the bill would establish that, for purposes of state law, the infant who is completely expelled or extracted from the mother and alive is a “person,” regardless of whether the baby’s development is believed to be sufficient for long-term survival or whether the infant was initially targeted for abortion.
The legislation, SB 359 – Born-Alive Abortion Survivor’s Protection Act, would require health care practitioners to use the same degree of professional skill, care, and diligence to preserve the life and health of the child as they would give any other child born alive at the same gestational age and to ensure that the baby is immediately admitted to a hospital. Those who fail to do so could be charged with a Class D Felony and fined up to $250,000. And people in a position to report such neglect of a newborn but who shirk that duty could also be charged. The measure specifically exempts the baby’s mother from any charges.
“The issue of children born-alive is a human life issue, a civil rights issue. It’s not simply a religious issue,” said the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League, who continues to monitor and lobby on the bill and its companion legislation, House Bill 602. “One does not need to be a Christian or a member of any faith, to believe that children extracted from the mother’s body, living, breathing and moving, are human beings and are entitled to all of the protections of the law which includes the right to live.”
Sen. Joyce Krawiec (R-Forsyth), one of the bill’s three primary sponsors, told the Judiciary committee at the beginning of what became a heated exchange, “A ‘right to an abortion’ should not translate to a right to a dead child no matter what. These infants are born, and they are live human beings. They are separate from their mother’s body, and they should not be treated as anything other than a live child. They should not be cast aside in a sterile tray or left to die on a metal table.”
As the bill’s sponsors laid out their argument, it was hard to say who was more incredulous — supporters who were shocked that not every member of the committee could see the need to protect newborns or opponents of the bill who seemed set on denying that babies ever survive abortion attempts in the first place, then are left to die, while others are intentionally destroyed.
“Doctors have a code of ethics. Doctors do not let babies die. I’m sorry, that doesn’t happen,” Sen. Terry Van Duyn (D-Buncombe) told the Judiciary Committee. She called the bill a “stunt” and an attempt to interfere in the relationship between a woman and her physician, and ultimately to undermine and overturn Roe v. Wade.
“We are one step closer to taking away from women a potentially life-saving procedure based on our ideology. And that’s wrong,” Van Duyn said.
Fellow Democrat Floyd McKissick (Durham) said lawmakers had no business “moving into the mind and psyche of a doctor” who is forced to make split-second decisions based upon the circumstances he or she is presented with.
But rather than second-guessing doctors, Sen. Paul Newton (R-Cabarrus) told the committee the bill is about second-guessing our culture.
“We have got to leave no ambiguity on our legacy as North Carolina legislators about whether infants born alive have the right to live,” Newton said. Both he and Sen. Dan Bishop (R-Mecklenburg) addressed head-on opponents’ contentions that state law already addresses infanticide.
“Current law doesn’t address this because no one has ever contemplated the need to address it before. Because it seemed, under our shared ideals, obvious to all, that if someone were alive there would be no thought of denying medical care to save their life,” Bishop said. “It is a revelation to some of us that some would contemplate that a live human being can be so vulnerable and so little thought of that it might be even remotely conceivable to allow that human being to die by neglect or by an overt act against it while it is alive and outside of its mother’s body.”
Bishop admitted that physicians occupy an extraordinarily important role in our society, but said they are not “sole judges of life and death over a human being.”