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North Carolina House fails to override governor’s veto of bill protecting newborns from infanticide

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RALEIGH, North Carolina, June 6, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Pro-life lawmakers in North Carolina’s House of Representatives fell short Wednesday of the votes needed to override the Democrat governor’s veto of legislation to extend basic protections for newborns who survive failed abortions.

The Born Alive Abortion Survivors Act required infants born alive after attempted abortions to be guaranteed 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.” Violators would be guilty of a Class D felony and face a fine of up to $250,000.

It passed the state legislature in April, but Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed the bill on the grounds that “laws already protect newborn babies,” so the “needless legislation would criminalize doctors and other health care providers for a practice that simply does not exist."

Last month, the state Senate voted 30-20 to override the veto, with Democrat state Sen. Don Davis joining every Senate Republican to provide the exact three-fifths majority needed. But this week’s 67-53 House vote fell short of the 72 votes needed to complete the override, the Raleigh News & Observer reported.

Wednesday’s vote was about “whether the great state of North Carolina will sanction the murder of a baby,” Republican state Rep. Keith Kidwell said. “Do you want to wear that banner today?”

Pro-lifers note that current federal law does not contain specific criminal penalties for withholding treatment from a newborn after a failed abortion, and that state law contains a loophole in that while physicians cannot directly kill a newborn, they don’t have a legal duty to care for one, either.

Further, pro-lifers distrust abortionists’ claims that infanticide never happens. “Nurses told stories of babies who were born alive and were taken by the doctor and turned face down in the saline,” Republican state Rep. Pat McElraft testified, relaying what she saw during her past career as a phlebotomist. “I can attest to the fact that infanticide has happened here in NC. I’ve been witness to the result of those late-term abortions.”

The bill is unlikely to be revived in the current legislative session, but pro-lifers suggested it could be a major issue in the next gubernatorial election.

“Gov. Cooper has to look out next year because this is what (Republican frontrunner) Lt. Gov. Dan Forest will run on — that Gov. Cooper is in favor of infanticide, along with many of the Democrats down there,” Concerned Women for America state director Jill Coward said.

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