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A black Democratic lawmaker from North Carolina said he will vote to override Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of a bill to protect newborn babies from infanticide.
State Rep. Garland Pierce was one of five Democrats who joined Republicans in voting for the state Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, the Laurinburg Exchange reports.
State Senate Bill 359 would require abortion workers to provide the same level of medical care to an infant born alive from a botched abortion that they would any other infant born at the same gestational age. It also would require the infant to be transferred to a hospital for further care. Health workers also would be require to report these instances to authorities. Abortion workers who violate the measure could face felony charges.
Cooper, a pro-abortion Democrat who has the support of Planned Parenthood, vetoed the bill last week.
It is not clear if there are enough votes in the state legislature to override Cooper’s veto, but lawmakers are going to try.
“And I’ll vote to override the governor’s veto,” Pierce said. “I just can’t vote against my conscience. Even if someone thinks there are already laws in place for protection, how could this bill hurt?”
He said a vote likely will occur next week.
“I do recognize women’s rights because I have a mother, a wife, a daughter and granddaughter,” Pierce told the local newspaper. “What decisions they make, I respect. For this (bill), I decided to side with the surviving baby. If a baby survives it has the right to medical attention.”
The report listed state Sens. Ben Clark and Don Davis, and state Reps. Raymond Smith, Charles Graham and James Gailliard as the other Democrats who voted with Pierce in support of the bill.
Pierce said the testimony of Jill Stanek was one of the things that prompted him to support the bill. A former nurse turned whistle-blower, Stanek said she saw her co-workers take a baby boy who survived an abortion to a utility room and leave him there to die.
“I do not want to trample on women’s rights,” Pierce said. “What got my attention is that once the baby has gone through the trauma of abortion and lives, I believe it should get medical care like any living being at that point, and not be denied medical assistance on its journey to live.”
The state Democratic Party, however, supported Cooper’s decision to veto the bill.
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Cooper criticized the bill as “unnecessary” and claimed it would “criminalize doctors for a practice that simply does not exist” in his veto message.
During the House debate, however, state Rep. Pat McElraft, R-Emerald Isle, gave a powerful testimony about working as a phlebotomist and seeing newborns who survived abortions being abandoned to die in the hospital where she worked, according to North Carolina Health News.
“I was on a break and went in to visit with the pathologist in the pathology lab and I asked him, I said, ‘What are all these little pigs doing in these buckets?’ He told me, ‘Pat, look again,’ and I did. They were perfectly formed little human babies in those buckets,” she said.
McElraft said the incident occurred in the 1970s, soon after she began working in the medical field. She also said she knew of a doctor at the hospital who drowned newborns who survived abortions.
Reports by the Centers for Disease Control indicate that there are infants born alive after botched abortions in the U.S. According to Congressional testimony:
Data that the CDC collects also confirms babies are born alive after attempted abortions. Between the years 2003 and 2014 there were somewhere between 376 and 588 infant deaths under the medical code P96.4 which keeps track of babies born alive after a “termination of pregnancy.”
The CDC concluded that of the 588 babies, 143 were “definitively” born alive after an attempted abortion and they lived from minutes to one or more days, with 48% of the babies living between one to four hours. It also admitted that it’s possible the number is an underestimate (B).
Data from other countries suggest the same. In 2018, for example, the Canadian Institute of Health Information reported 766 late-term, live-birth abortions over a five-year period. In Western Australia, at least 27 babies survived abortions between 1999 and 2016, according to the state’s health minister.
Currently, 19 states do not have laws requiring medical care for babies born alive after botched abortions, according to research by Americans United for Life. However, Kentucky and Texas lawmakers are considering similar legislation this spring.
The state bills are similar to federal legislation that pro-abortion Democrats are blocking in the U.S. House and Senate. The Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act requires abortionists to provide the same level of medical care to an infant who survives an abortion as a doctor would to any other baby at the same stage of life.
Some states never have passed laws to protect abortion survivors, while at least one other, New York, recently repealed its law requiring medical care for infants who survive abortions.