The governor of Wisconsin, Tony Evers, has vowed to veto a Republican-backed bill that would prevent babies born alive after an abortion attempt from being killed. In the shocking move, Evers said that he was against the legal clarification because the current laws are comprehensive enough in the sensitive area of late-term abortions.
That was just not good enough for those who support state-wide safeguarding against infanticide.
What does the bill propose?
The bill, AB 179, is designed to ensure that any baby born alive after a botched abortion attempt should be granted immediate medical attention. The legislation “reaffirms protections” for the unborn in light of the eroding away of moral and legal parameters in cases of late-term abortion.
“I am introducing the Born-Alive Protection Act because, unfortunately, some people including the Governor of Virginia, are unclear on this, so we need to reaffirm these protections,” Senate President Roger Roth, the bill’s co-author, said in a statement. “We are providing explicit outlines to health care practitioners that babies who survive an abortion need to be given the same, equal rights as any other person.”
Those who co-authored and sponsored the bill noted their desire to see medical professionals “exercise the same degree of professional skill, care, and diligence to preserve the life and health of the child as a reasonably diligent and conscientious health care provider would render to any other child born alive.”
According to the bill itself, a healthcare provider who refuses to care for the child could face time behind bars:
“Any person who fails to provide the appropriate degree of care or ensure the child is transferred to a hospital would be guilty of a class H felony—punishable by up to six years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.”
Evers says preventing infanticide is a “redundant” issue
In a jarring statement delivered Monday, the governor explained his reasons for vetoing the proposed legislation, noting his belief that the current state law lays out enough legal protections for these rare instances. There is, however, great uncertainty over the breadth of the protections currently in place.
“We have all sorts of issues to deal with in the state of Wisconsin and to pass a bill that is redundant seems to be not a productive use of time,” Evers told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, adding that “women should be able to make choices about their health care. But this deals with a specific issue that’s already been resolved.”
What are pro-lifers saying?
The pro-life politicians who backed the bill are rightly sickened by the governor’s flat refusal to protect babies that are born alive after an abortion attempt.
Senate President Roger Roth said Evers’ decision not to sign the bill illustrated that “he has gone farther to the extreme than I imagined.”
“My bill simply removes any ambiguity that a health care provider must care for the life and health of a baby,” he said. “How could anyone be against that?”
Through AB 179, “we wanted to reaffirm the fact that babies that survive abortions have the right to anything any other living, breathing individual in the state does,” said another of the backers, Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke (R-Kaukauna). “And doctors have the responsibility to care for that child as they would for any other person who was living and breathing.”
As you’d imagine, pro-life lobbyists are perplexed as to why the governor would refuse to sign a bill that simply clarifies the necessity of a born-alive baby to be transported to hospital for life-saving treatment.
Executive director of Wisconsin Right to Life, Heather Weininger, told the Journal Sentinel that “we need to protect those unborn children in any way possible,” noting that the bill “just really clarifies that [the] child would need to be transported to a hospital if they are in an abortion facility.”
Under Wisconsin’s current laws, it is a felony for anyone other than a doctor to perform an abortion. It also illegal to perform abortions after 20 weeks unless the mother’s life or health is at risk.
In 2017, just under 6,000 terminations were carried out in the state.