As the Supreme Court ponders overturning the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, Democratic states are competing to become the next “abortion sanctuary.” But in their race to codify abortion-on-demand, left-wing politicians have proposed bills that even Democratic legal analysts admit could legalize infanticide. That is, Democratic lawmakers have introduced bills that according to pro-life legal experts would essentially allow people to kill a newborn anywhere from 7 to 30 days after birth.
The deep blue path to infanticide
In a coordinated legislative push, politicians in two heavily Democratic states introduced nearly identical bills that would have decriminalized infanticide. Both bills referred to an expecting mother as a “pregnant person,” and both used the phrase “perinatal death” — from the Latin meaning, “around the time of birth.” The original version of California Assembly Bill 2223, introduced by Assemblywoman Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland), said the state may not charge any woman for any action or inaction affecting her “pregnancy outcome, including miscarriage, stillbirth, or abortion, or perinatal death.” Similarly, Maryland State Senator Will Smith (D-Montgomery County) introduced Senate Bill 669, which is nearly identical to Buffy Wicks’ bill, decriminalizing “perinatal death related to a failure to act.”
Neither bill defined the term “perinatal,” but no definition of the word ends at birth, as pro-life advocates pointed out. “The bill expressly authorizes any person to facilitate late-term abortions and infanticide without legal repercussions,” said Alexandra Snyder, CEO of the Life Legal Defense Foundation, about AB 2223. “If this barbaric bill is enacted, there will be no criminal or civil liability for the mother or those who assist her with killing her baby post-birth,” added attorney Dean Broyles of the National Center for Law and Policy. And Olivia Summers of the American Center for Law and Justice also testified against the Maryland bill that perinatal death “is not limited to a pre-birth death, but includes the death of a young newborn.”
The ill-informed say equating “perinatal death” with infanticide is heavy-handed nonsense. That’s why they’re ill-informed. The Democrat-dominated California Assembly Judiciary Committee released an official analysis of the bill on April 3 which specifically states the original language would have opened the door to the “unintended” legalization of infanticide through at least the first week of the newborn’s life:
[T]he “perinatal death” language could lead to an unintended and undesirable conclusion. As currently in print, it may not be sufficiently clear that “perinatal death” is intended to be the consequence of a pregnancy complication. Thus, the bill could be interpreted to immunize a pregnant person from all criminal penalties for all pregnancy outcomes, including the death of a newborn for any reason during the “perinatal” period after birth, including a cause of death which is not attributable to pregnancy complications, which clearly is not the author’s intent.
In other words, pro-life advocates were right.
While the bill does not define “perinatal,” the term is generally used to describe the period from approximately past 22 (or 28) completed weeks of pregnancy up to 7 completed days of life. … [California State] Welfare & Institutions Code Section 13134.5(b) defines perinatal as “the period from the establishment of pregnancy to one month following delivery.”
Yet another portion of state law extends the term “perinatal” to “60 days following delivery.”
It should be noted that the heavily Democratic State Assembly, which supports elective abortion, wrote this analysis — something made obvious by such contentions as, e.g., that a 37-week-old “fetus was never alive.” This underscores how reckless the bill is: Even Democrats in one of the most liberal states found the charge of infanticide undeniable.
Wicks lashed out and accused her pro-life critics of bad faith, but she amended the law to say its immunity applies to “perinatal death due to a pregnancy-related cause.” The sponsor of the House version of the Maryland bill, too, responded to pro-life pushback by saying she would amend her own bill. Yet pro-life advocates say the amended bills still leave newborns vulnerable, and their killers immune to prosecution. For instance, bioethicist Wesley J. Smith wrote in National Review that its perinatal death provision still “effectively decriminalizes death by neglect.”
Why would multiple Democratic legislators introduce bills that would shield abortionists from criminal prosecution or investigation if they let a newborn die? The answer may be because that has long been on the abortion industry’s legislative wish list.
The Left’s agenda: decriminalizing botched abortions …
Planned Parenthood and Democratic politicians have a decades-long history of opposing state and national bills that require an abortionist to help a child who is born alive during a botched abortion. This little-reported fact springs from a reason even less widely known, outside the abortion industry: babies born alive during botched abortions.
The statistics are deliberately hard to nail down. Arizona, which enacted a law requiring abortionists to give lifesaving care to infants born alive during botched abortions, reported, “From August 2017 to December 2017, 10 abortion reports involving fetus or embryo delivered alive were submitted to [the Arizona Department of Health Services] along with the physician’s statement documenting the measures taken to preserve the life of the fetus or embryo.” Canada, which has one-tenth the population of the United States, reported 491 babies born alive during botched abortions from 2000 to 2009. A 1981 Philadelphia Inquirer article noted that, in abortion facilities, “unintended live births are literally an everyday occurrence,” but “organized medicine … treats them more as an embarrassment to be hushed up than a problem to be solved.”
“It’s like turning yourself in to the IRS for an audit,” said Dr. Willard Cates, who would later serve on the board of the abortion-friendly Guttmacher Institute. “What is there to gain? The tendency is not to report because there are only negative incentives.”
Reporting the facts about infants born alive falls to whistleblowers such as Jill Stanek, who was then a nurse at The Christ Hospital in Oak Hill, Illinois. She testified to Congress that she witnessed a newborn baby born alive during an abortion “left to die on the counter of the Soiled Utility Room wrapped in a disposable towel. This baby was accidentally thrown in the garbage, and when they later were going through the trash to find the baby, the baby fell out of the towel and on to the floor.”
“I cradled and rocked him for the 45 minutes that he lived. He was 21 to 22 weeks old,” she said.
Moving accounts such as hers made no impression on then-Illinois State Senator Barack Obama, who opposed his state’s version of the Born Alive Infant Protection Act in 2001, 2002, and 2003.
As the years went on the abortion lobby became less guarded about its advocacy. In 2013, a lobbyist for the state’s Planned Parenthood affiliates told the Florida House of Representatives the decision to save a baby born alive during a botched abortion should be left up, in part, to the abortionist.
“It’s just really hard for me to even ask you this question, because I’m almost in disbelief,” said Rep. Jim Boyd, a member of the Civil Justice Subcommittee, before asking the lobbyist point blank: “If a baby is born on a table as a result of a botched abortion, what would Planned Parenthood want to have happen to that child that is struggling for life?”
“We believe that any decision that’s made should be left up to the woman, her family, and the physician,” replied lobbyist Alissa LaPolt Snow.
By 2019, putatively “moderate” Democratic politicians in swing states were saying the soft part out loud. Then-Virginia Governor Ralph Northam (D) told WTOP radio in the event of a botched abortion, “the infant would be delivered, the infant would be kept comfortable, the infant would be resuscitated if this is what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physician and the mother.” Given the chance to retract his comments, Northam refused.
Why have many in the Democratic Party embraced the advocacy of infanticide? It may have something to do with the fact that Planned Parenthood — which received $618.1 million in federal funding in its 2019-2020 fiscal year — spent a record-breaking $45 million funding pro-abortion lawmakers in the 2020 election.
… And covering up the gruesome facts of chemical abortions
The abortion industry has another motive: Hiding the negative effects of chemical abortions. Abortionists have vastly increased the use of chemical abortions — especially since they can dispense abortion-inducing drugs without examining the patient in person. Chemical abortions now make up more than half of all abortions nationwide, according to the Guttmacher Institute.
During a chemical abortion, a woman takes two drugs — mifepristone and misoprostol — one makes it difficult for the newly conceived child (or zygote) to implant in the uterine wall, while the other induces cramps that expel the child from her body. When the FDA approved RU-486 in 2000 after enacting “accelerated approval regulations,” its guidelines required doctors to administer 600 mg of mifepristone, followed by 400 mcg of misoprostol. The Obama administration signed off on abortionists’ decision to decrease the dosage of the more expensive mifepristone — the drug that ensures fetal demise — to 200 mg, while increasing the less expensive misoprostol to 800 mcg. In the name of maximizing their profits, the abortion industry greatly increased the likelihood that a mother who takes these drugs will give birth to a living, but extremely premature, child alone in her restroom.
Bills such as Wick’s rush to erase this reality. Wicks’ legislation would repeal the state law requiring coroners to record deaths of this sort as “deaths without medical attendance.” This would, in effect, cover up the spike in the number of mothers forced to watch their living child die in a toilet by assuring these traumatizing events never make it into state records.
Bills like Wicks’ have nothing to do with the suffering of women after a miscarriage. They have everything to do with covering up the abortion industry’s profit motive.
The short answer is: Pro-life advocates are worried that blue states are trying to legalize infanticide, because a coordinated legislative agenda would have done exactly that.
The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.