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In the Face of Abortion Survivors, N.C. Dems Strike Down Bill to Protect Babies Born Alive


In the presence of two abortion survivors, North Carolina House Democrats on Wednesday refused to override Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of the Born Alive Survivors Act.

The bill, which had initially passed through the Republican-controlled state House and Senate, would have imposed strict penalties — up to $250,000 in fines, prison time, and felony charges — on doctors who did not provide life-saving care to babies born alive during abortion procedures or report such instances. 

The veto was overridden in the N.C. Senate thanks to Democratic State Senator Don Davis, who gave Republicans the supermajority they needed to overcome their Democratic governor's veto. Upon reaching the House, however, Republicans could only muster 67 votes, falling just short of the 72 votes needed to enact the bill into law.

The argument from N.C. Republicans has been that, while babies born during abortions are granted personhood by the 2002 Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, the law has no teeth in enforcement, leaving a legal gray area as to whether life-saving care actually has to be given to infants born during abortion procedures.

“You and I know this is not about abortion,” Michael Speciale, a representative for North Carolina’s 3rd District, said before Wednesday’s vote. “This is not about women’s health, though I expect it to be twisted and contorted by those trying to justify their vote to support death.” 

“Today, by practice and according to the law of North Carolina... all living infants in North Carolina are legally entitled to the care that they need. Any overt act to injure or cause death to a living infant is already punishable as murder,” Deb Butler, a representative for North Carolina’s 18th District, argued.

Butler continued, “High risk pregnancy physicians are among the people that are going to be damaged by this bill,” echoing the Democratic argument that the bill was merely a means to discourage certain abortion procedures. 

As conservative states continue to pass more pro-life legislation, one must wonder how much longer North Carolina Democrats can stave off the trend.

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