by Kelvey Vander Hart
In the midst of the debate over legal rights for babies who survive abortion attempts, two states have stepped forward in an effort to secure rights for these children: Texas and North Carolina.
In Texas, the State House of Representatives passed House Bill 16, which relates to the enforcement of rights for a “living unborn child after an abortion,” by a vote of 93-1. If enacted, this legislation would mandate medical treatment for the surviving child. Doctors who fail to provide “the appropriate medical treatment” will face a third-degree felony charge coupled with a fine of at least $100,000.
While Texas already has some statutes that protect children who survive abortions, the intent of this bill is to give those statutes some “teeth” in enabling enforcement. State Representative Jeff Leach (R-Plano), the bill’s author, explained:
At the heart of the bill, the ‘Texas Born-Alive Protection Act’ — it is designed to strengthen the protections to those babies who survive abortions…Join me in supporting House Bill 16, showing the rest of the country — states like Virginia, New York and Washington, D.C. — that we’re going to continue to stand for life in this state.
The situation for North Carolina’s born alive bill is a little bit different. While Senate Bill 359 (the “Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Act”) passed both chambers of the Republican-controlled legislature, it was vetoed by Democratic Governor Roy Cooper. He argued that the bill would penalize doctors for “a practice that simply does not exist.”
“We thought Democrats would agree that children born alive should be separate from the abortion debate, but it’s clear that they want the ‘right to choose’ to even extend past birth,” commented two of the bill’s Republican sponsors, State Senator Joyce Kawiec and State Representative Pat McElraft. “This is a sad day for North Carolina.”
Under this bill, practicioners who do not provide proper care for babies who survive abortion would be charged with a class D felony; if they directly acted to end the child’s life after birth, they would be guilty of murder. Overriding Gov. Cooper’s veto will take three-fifths of each chamber.
The rights of children should be protected, no matter their status or situation. Kudos to the state legislatures of Texas and North Carolina for trying to do exactly that.