On Friday, two female Massachusetts doctors, one a pediatrician and the other an obstetrician/gynecologist, testified at a hearing of the Joint Committee on the Judiciary concerning Massachusetts’ ROE Act, which would remove protections for newborns who survive abortions. Bill S.1209 elides Section 12P from the Massachusetts general law; Section 12P states:
If an abortion is performed pursuant to section twelve M, the physician performing the abortion shall take all reasonable steps, both during and subsequent to the abortion, in keeping with good medical practice, consistent with the procedure being used, to preserve the life and health of the aborted child. Such steps shall include the presence of life-supporting equipment, as defined by the department of public health, in the room where the abortion is to be performed.
The pediatrician, Dr. Carole Allen, who is retired but serves as vice president for the Massachusetts Medical Society, supports Bill S. 1209 although according to Live Action, she claimed she was “not familiar with that particular section." Dr. Luu Ireland, an obstetrician-gynecologist at UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester and board member of the Massachusetts section of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, stated, ”So this part that is taken out is not preventing life-saving treatment from being done to a newborn. What this does is it allows the next steps in medical care to be made between a physician and the patient that they’re taking care of."
As Live Action pointed out, “Since a newborn who just survived an abortion can’t speak for herself, the patient Ireland is speaking of must be the mother of the child, which means Ireland does not consider the baby who was just delivered to be a patient of the abortionist."
After Ireland claimed, "What this does is it allows the next steps in medical care to be made between a physician and the patient that they’re taking care of," State Rep. Sheila Harrington immediately queried, “Where does it say that?”
Ireland ignored her and continued, “So if they determine that life-saving medical treatment is needed, they have the full capacity to do that. But if it is a newborn that has a lethal fetal anomaly, they also have the option of providing comfort care or palliative care."
Harrington pressed, “Where does it say that?”
Ireland admitted, “It doesn’t.”
Harrington repeated, “It doesn’t.”
Ireland said, “It’s taking out the section so that physicians have the ability to use their medical expertise and ethical obligations, provide the appropriate treatment .”
Harrington countered, “But it doesn’t say that in the Roe Act.”
Ireland admitted, “No.”
At one point, Ireland also stated, “The goal is to take out language that ties the hands of physicians and makes medical decisions for the physician.”
Live Action noted, “During the hearing, Rep. Harrington summed up the testimony from Ireland that she was hearing. ‘So you’re saying that if the baby is born alive, you don’t want to be forced into doing what you could to keep it alive.’ Ireland responded, ‘So first of all, I’ve never actually been in that situation. I don’t think that that actually happens in medical care.’ As the audience in the room groaned in disapproval, Harrington responded. 'Oh, I think it happens. I think it happens.'”