Bush Signs 'Born-Alive Infants Protection Act' Into Law
July 7, 2008
(CNSNews.com) - President Bush Monday signed legislation protecting infants "accidentally" born during abortion procedures from being killed or left to die.
Bush signed the "Born-Alive Infants Protection Act" (H.R. 2175) during a trip to Pennsylvania, to mirror laws already on the books in more than 30 states.
"This important legislation assures that every infant born alive, including an infant who survives an abortion procedure, is considered a person under federal law," he said.
Attending the ceremony were Gianna Jessen, a young woman who survived an attempted saline abortion in 1977 and Jill Stanek, a nurse who alerted Congress about infants who were born alive but then allowed to die following botched abortions.
"Today, through sonograms and other technology, we can clearly see that unborn children are members of the human family as well. They reflect our image, and they are created in God's own image," Bush said. "The Born-Alive Infants Protection Act is a step toward the day when every child is welcomed in life and protected in law.
"It is a step toward the day when the promises of the Declaration of Independence will apply to everyone, not just those with the voice and power to defend their rights," he added.
The bill was introduced in the 107th Congress by Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio), chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, in response to reports of infants being allowed to die after incomplete abortions.
"According to eyewitness accounts, live-birth abortions are being performed on healthy infants as late as the 23rd week of pregnancy, and beyond, that suffer from nonfatal deformities resulting in live-born premature infants who are simply allowed to die, sometimes without the provision of warmth or nutrition," Chabot argued on the House floor.
"Our subcommittee was told of a living infant who was found in a soiled utility closet; another who was found naked on the edge of a sink; and another infant who, horribly, was wrapped in a disposable towel and thrown in the trash, only to be later found after falling out of the towel and onto the floor."
Pro-abortion Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) discounted the eyewitness accounts of abortionists allowing babies to die, but supported the bill, nonetheless.
"I support the bill simply to put at rest the fevered apprehensions about nonexistent threats. But let us not overstate those nonexistent threats," Nadler said during debate on the bill. "It is a harmless bill. It is a bill that does nothing, but is harmless. And why not put people's fears at rest? So I still urge people to support the bill. But we should not get carried away and imagine that under the guise or name of 'abortions' any of this nonsense is going on."
When the bill was originally introduced in 2000 by now-retired Rep. Charles Canady (R-Fla.), the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) opposed the proposal, calling it "another anti-choice assault" on the "basic tenets of Roe v. Wade."
"In proposing this bill, anti-choice lawmakers are seeking to ascribe rights to fetuses 'at any stage of development,' thereby directly contradicting one of Roe's basic tenets," NARAL wrote in a July 20, 2000 press release.
However a June 13, 2001 release states that, "Consistent with our position last year, NARAL does not oppose passage of the Born Alive Infants Protection Act."
The law provides that "In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the words 'person', 'human being', 'child', and 'individual', shall include every infant member of the species homo sapiens who is born alive at any stage of development."
It defines the term "born alive" as "the complete expulsion or extraction from his or her mother of [a human being], at any stage of development, who after such expulsion or extraction breathes or has a beating heart, pulsation of the umbilical cord, or definite movement of voluntary muscles, regardless of whether the umbilical cord has been cut, and regardless of whether the expulsion or extraction occurs as a result of natural or induced labor, cesarean section, or induced abortion."
President Bush was in Pennsylvania to meet with nine coal miners who were rescued last week after being trapped underground for 77 hours. The bill was signed there in honor of its Senate sponsor, Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.).
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