Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon (R) signed into law Wednesday a bill that mandates infants who survive an abortion receive the same medical treatment as any other infant born alive.
Senate File 34, known as “Born alive infant-means of care,” states:
The commonly accepted means of care that would be rendered to any other infant born alive shall be employed in the treatment of any viable infant aborted alive. Any physician performing an abortion shall take medically appropriate and reasonable steps to preserve the life and health of an infant born alive.
As Catholic News Agency (CNA) reported, Gordon vetoed a similar bill last year.
“Last year’s bill was different from the one brought this year,” Michael Pearlman, communications director for Gordon, told CNA. “In the Governor’s opinion, this bill met with the Governor’s pro-life and pro-family convictions.”
The new law will go into effect in July.
Nathan Winters, executive director of Family Policy Alliance of Wyoming, celebrated the new law.
“With the resounding support of the Wyoming legislature and endorsement of the Governor, Wyoming has taken the important step of protecting these vulnerable citizens taking their first breath of Wyoming air,” he said in a statement, and added:
This legislation will stand as a silent but strong guardian over any infant surviving an abortion by requiring that medical professionals carry out their ethical and medical duty to provide appropriate medical care or genuine comfort care for a newborn. While physicians can determine what “appropriate and reasonable steps” should be taken, this new law ensures that the next step can’t be to do nothing.
The pro-life Susan B. Anthony List sponsored a poll in February 2019 that found 77 percent of Americans support legislation that would ensure babies who survive abortion would be administered the same medical treatment as would any infant born prematurely at the same age.
That outcome included 75 percent of independent voters and 70 percent of Democrats.
While abortion rights activists frequently use talking points that claim a federal Born-Alive Act is not “necessary” because Congress already passed the 2002 Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, or because infanticide is already illegal under homicide laws, Patrina Mosley, Family Research Council’s director of Life, Culture, and Women’s Advocacy, addressed the issue in February 2020:
Congress did pass the 2002 Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, but that was only a definitional change stating that all infants who survive abortion are full persons under the law. It neither required any medical care for infants born-alive nor included a provision for prosecuting anyone who failed to provide care.
Mosley also referred to the murder conviction of Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell to make another point about homicide law:
Under current homicide law, there is a distinction between active and passive killing. Active killing is what happened with Pennsylvania abortionist Kermit Gosnell, when he snipped the necks and spines of infants who were, according to him, “big enough to walk him to the bus stop.” Eyewitnesses who worked with Texas abortionist Douglas Karpen testified that he regularly killed babies born alive by snipping their spinal cords, fatally injuring them with blows to the soft spot on their heads, and twisting their necks.
Gosnell was convicted on three counts of murder under Pennsylvania homicide statue that included prosecutions for infanticide.
“But what about an abortionist that simply leaves the infant to die?” Mosley asked. “The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act would require an active duty physician to treat a child that needs help when he or she is born alive after an abortion. If you kill that child you will have committed murder. At present, if you leave the child to die, you’re not guilty of anything.”
Melanie Israel, research associate at the Heritage Foundation, also noted in February 2019 that current federal policy is not sufficient to protect babies who survive a botched abortion.
The 2002 Born-Alive Act “clarifies for purposes of federal law that ‘every infant … who is born alive at any stage of development’ is a ‘person,’ regardless of the circumstances—including induced abortion—surrounding birth,” Israel observed. “But it does not specify the obligations surrounding duty of care for such infants.”