A federal judge blocked the state’s late-term abortion limitations in March
Four House Democrats join Republicans supporting the measure
Raleigh, N.C. – The state House of Representatives approved legislation banning post-birth abortions of living, breathing children in North Carolina on Tuesday in a bipartisan 65-46 vote that sent the measure to Gov. Roy Cooper.
Senate Bill 359 Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act requires healthcare practitioners provide the same duty of care to every infant born alive in North Carolina, whether or not it was born alive despite an abortion.
The legislation only applies when a living, breathing baby is completely removed from a mother’s womb and shows signs of life like a heartbeat. It contains no provisions regarding pre-birth abortion procedures.
North Carolina’s previous limitations on late-term abortions were struck down by a federal judge in March.
“This bill has nothing to do with a woman’s decision to abort her baby,” said primary sponsor Rep. Pat McElraft (R-Carteret). “Nor does it have anything to do with the abortion procedure itself. This is about the baby that is born alive when the abortion fails to kill the baby.”
Rep. McElraft pointed to laws recently passed in New York and proposed in Virginia to allow post-birth abortions that she called “barbaric” and “infanticide.”
“This bill just does the right and just thing for these little babies, human beings, living and breathing, and they’re worthy of this protection,” Rep. McElraft said.
Current North Carolina law already requires abortion clinics maintain emergency care procedures like agreements with nearby hospitals for patient transfers and medical intervention plans for life-threatening situations.
Dr. Greg Murphy (R-Pitt), the only medical doctor serving in the state House, expressed support for the measure in debate on Tuesday.
“This bill is not to debate the legality of abortion,” Dr. Murphy said.
“This bill just speaks to the mere fact that if a child is born alive, they’re alive. Their life is not to be taken, regardless of what was the anticipated desire at the beginning of the delivery. The child is alive.”