RALEIGH, May 1, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A North Carolina bill to guarantee basic medical care to newborns who survive failed abortions came one step closer to becoming law Tuesday, with the state Senate voting to override Democrat Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of the measure.
Senate Bill 359 requires 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 last month, but Cooper vetoed it 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.”
On Tuesday evening, the Senate voted 30-20 to override the veto, the News & Observer reported. Democrat state Sen. Don Davis joined every Senate Republican to provide the exact three-fifths majority needed.
“This bill is nothing except requiring care for a newborn child, separate from its mother, born alive,” Republican state Sen. Joyce Krawiec said. “It’s a sad day when we have to come back here because we have a governor who decided making a political statement was more important than protecting living newborn babies.”
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. During last month’s debate over the bill, North Carolina lawmakers heard testimony alleging that wasn’t the case.
“Nurses told stories of babies who were born alive and were taken by the doctor and turned face down in the saline,” GOP state Rep. Pat McElraft said, 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.”
“If the practice simply does not exist, as the governor claims, how would it criminalize anything?” asked NC Family Policy Council President John Rustin outside the General Assembly on Monday. “Groups representing over 30,000 physicians across our nation have called on our national leaders to pass this same legislation on the federal level.”
Republicans still hold a majority in the state House, but in the November 2018 elections lost the margin with which they were once able to comfortably override gubernatorial vetoes. House lawmakers will have to attract several Democrat votes to assemble a three-fifths super-majority.