On its face, S 359 “simply” provides that if a fetus is “born alive” during an abortion procedure, health care providers are required to provide appropriate medical treatment. But the devil is in the details and between the lines.
The bill (which is similar to bills introduced by anti-abortion advocates in other states and a bill that was recently defeated in the US Senate) defines “born alive” as having a detectable heart beat or respiration at the time the fetus is delivered and requires (despite any contrary wishes of the pregnant woman or the medical judgment of the health care provider) that the fetus be immediately transferred and admitted to a hospital (even though the survival rate of fetuses less than 22 weeks old is incredibly low). Health care providers who fail to comply with the law would be subject to criminal prosecution.
In vetoing the bill on April 18, Gov. Cooper noted that state law already protects newborn babies, that the bill is an unnecessary interference by the state in the reproductive rights of women, and that the bill would criminalize doctors and other health care providers in connection with a practice that does not actually exist.
S 359 is simply one more attempt to “chip away” at the reproductive rights of women and part of the agenda to completely outlaw abortion (following the lead of legislators in Alabama and Mississippi) and overturn the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade.
The North Carolina Senate narrowly overrode Gov. Cooper’s veto (along an overwhelmingly party-line vote) on April 30 an Speaker Tim Moore has scheduled a vote in the state House of Representatives to override the Governor’s veto on June 5th.
This vote is will a close one and will probably come down to three or four of the Democrats who voted for the bill earlier this session and the one Republican who did not vote in favor of the bill.
It’s important the people who care about the reproductive rights of women act now.