By L.A. Williams
Christian Action League
May 13, 2021
Infants who survive a botched abortion would be entitled to the same level of care as wanted babies of the same gestational age under a bill passed Tuesday by the North Carolina Senate along party lines. Senate Bill 405, the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Act, is nearly identical to the measure passed in 2019 and vetoed by Gov. Roy Cooper, except that this time, a medical practitioner’s failure to heed the law would be a misdemeanor rather than a felony.
Sen. Joyce Krawiec (R-Forsyth), the bill’s main sponsor, and several colleagues began debate on the Senate floor Tuesday by debunking arguments made against the measure in committee.
“This bill does absolutely nothing to limit a woman’s access to healthcare. It does not come between a woman and her doctor,” Krawiec said. She said claims that the state already has laws to protect infants born alive after an abortion attempt are simply not true, nor are assertions that the problem does not exist.
Both she and Sen. Lisa Barnes (R-Johnston) shared testimonies from North Carolina residents who had either witnessed babies born alive during abortion being left to die or who were, in fact, survivors of botched abortions.
Todd Johnson (R-Union) said whenever he has heard people talk about abortion, the first thing he hears is “My body, my choice.”
“Let’s be clear: we’re not talking about abortion. We’re talking about a child that is completely separate from the body of its mother,” Johnson said. “So that begs this one question … When do human rights begin? How old do you have to be to have human rights? Is it five minutes? Is it five months? Is it five years? A child that is separated from its mother has rights immediately. And all this bill does is mandate that a doctor take care of a living human being.”
But Sen. Natalie Murdock (D-Durham) gave an impassioned speech against the bill, which she called inappropriate and harmful. She said physicians are already obligated by medical ethics and licensing regulations to care for infants and that the bill makes dangerous allegations about the competency of OB-GYN providers and stigmatizes abortion while demonizing the doctors who provide it.
That argument is not new, according to the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League.
“Something that I kept hearing when this bill was taken up in committee and on the floor of the Senate, is that this situation isn’t happening, and this legislation is an offense to the medical community because it makes all of them look bad,” he said. “That argument is like me saying there never is rank hypocrisy or scandalous behavior by clergy and to say otherwise is to smear the entire profession. I can’t believe arguments of this nature are made with a straight face.”
“The opponents of this legislation insist nothing is going on. Yes, there is! The evidence is clear and there is nothing in our laws that addresses these circumstances,” Creech added. “If we can’t affirm by law that a child extracted from the mother is a ‘person,’ regardless of whether its development is thought to be sufficient for long-term survival, or whether the baby was targeted for abortion, then we truly have become an exceedingly wicked and violent culture deserving of God’s fiery wrath.”
Sen. Murdock insisted that the bill would interfere with how parents of children born with fatal illnesses handle end-of-life care, but Amy Galey (R-Alamance) pointed out that nothing in the bill would prevent palliative, hospice-type care to any baby.
“This bill does not stigmatize doctors. It does not stigmatize our healthcare professionals. It gives them a reasonable care standard so that they know that infants who survived an abortion are treated with the dignity and respect that they should receive as a human being,” Galey said.
The bill will head to the House, where it is expected to pass, likely along party lines again, with little hope of getting past the Governor’s veto.