Democratic Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs vetoed legislation Thursday that would protect newborns from infanticide after surviving an abortion, regardless of whether the baby is likely to survive.
“It overrides patient and clinician decision-making in complex and highly personal circumstances,” Murphy Hebert, the governor’s chief of communications, told Capitol Media Services.
Although current state law only requires that abortionists offer life-saving care to those babies born alive after 20 weeks, State Senate Republicans advanced the Born Alive Bill in February, which amends existing law to view a fetus that survived an abortion as a legal person, granting the child the same rights and medical care as anyone else.
The bill also changes the language of a “fetus” to “infant” and “delivered” to “born alive.”
Those who fail to comply could face legal consequences.
Lawmakers included an exception, which would have allowed a parent or guardian authority to refuse consent to medical treatment or surgical care that would only “temporarily prolong the act of dying when death is imminent.”
Sen. Janae Shamp, who sponsored the bill, said, “I will always stand to protect those who cannot protect themselves.”
House Republicans in Arizona followed suit, approving the legislation 32-28, with the support of Democrat Rep. Lydia Hernandez of Phoenix.
Republican Rep. Justin Heap, however, said the bill comes down to one question after a baby survives an abortion.
“If a baby is born alive, even if it is sick or troubled, do we make efforts to try to save that person and treat them with the same dignity we would any other human being in our hospitals, or do we leave them on a table to die?'” Heap said, according to local media. “It is repellent. It is evil.”
Democratic Rep. Amish Shah of Phoenix, a credentialed emergency room physician, said doctors face complex situations that could put them at risk of breaking the law.
“When the threat of criminal penalties applies in a very subjective, harrowing situation like this, people are going to say, ‘I’m going to have to do something that I wouldn’t otherwise do with regard to medical judgment,'” he said.
“But when would a medical code ever end?” Shah said. “It would never end because it ends when I subjectively decide that the medical code ends and we stop the CPR process. So anybody can disagree with that and say, ‘Dr. Shaw, you’re guilty of a criminal violation.'”
Cathi Herrod, the president of the pro-life Center for Arizona Policy, opposed the governor’s decision to veto the bill, calling the act “cruel” and “heartless.”
Not accurate. Bill requires medically appropriate and reasonable care and treatment be given to any baby born alive. If death is imminent, parents can refuse the care. Horrific to leave a baby to die w/o reasonable care. Heartless. Cruel. Evil. https://t.co/4kY6kXvryZ
— Cathi Herrod (@cathiherrod) March 31, 2023
Herrod further issued a statement accusing Hobbs of playing “coy” during her campaign “but now her radical views are on full display; she just gave the okay to infanticide.”
“Hobbs vetoed a bill today that would have outlawed the intentional hastening of a newborn’s death,” she said. “The veto allows healthcare workers to withhold needed medical care from newborns, sanctioning death by neglect.”
When newborns experience life-threatening conditions, she said, medical professionals sometimes put the baby on a “slow code,” which means they don’t get the medically appropriate treatment babies without the condition get.
“Death by neglect is not healthcare,” she said, adding the bill would have ensured those newborns got the chance to beat the odds and live. “It is what every human deserves and what every parent expects from healthcare providers entrusted with the lives of new babies.
“Governor Hobbs has just shown her true colors; she is more devoted to her political special interest groups than she is to serving all Arizonans, even the most vulnerable and needy,” she added.
The Daily Wire reached out to Gov. Hobbs for comment on the veto but did not receive a response.