U.S. SENATE PASSES BORN ALIVE INFANTS PROTECTION ACT

Autor: ---- Fuente: Associated Press, National Right to Life

Washington, DC-The Senate sent to the White House Thursday a pro-life bill that ensures that the live birth of an unborn child-even if it occurs during an abortion-has certain rights under federal law. The Senate approved the measure by unanimous consent. The House passed the pro-life measure in March. The legislation is the first pro-life bill to be brought up in the Senate since pro-abortion Senator Tom Daschle became the majority leader in the United States Senate. The Born-Alive Infants Protection Act would amend the legal definitions of "person," "human being," "child" and "individual" to include a live birth that has occurred as part of an abortion procedure. The bill would guarantee that live-born infants are afforded full legal rights under federal law, regardless of their stage of development or whether their live births occurred during an abortion, explained Douglas Johnson, legislative director for National Right to Life. "Some newborn infants, especially those who are born alive during abortions, have been treated as non-persons," said Johnson. "This bill says that every infant born alive, even during an abortion and even if premature, is a full legal person under federal law." Democrats had argued the measure was unnecessary because a live birth is already considered a human being under state laws. The bill would codify (for federal law purposes only) the traditional definition of "born alive" that is already found in the laws of most states: complete expulsion from the mother, accompanied by heartbeat, respiration, and/or voluntary movements. The bill would also codify the traditional principle that the legal term "person" and other equivalent terms "shall include every infant member of the species homo sapiens who is born alive at any stage of development." The bill defines a child as "born alive" only if it displays the specified vital sign(s) after "the complete expulsion or extraction from his or her mother"-in other words, after pregnancy has ended. In a March 12 statement, the Bush Administration said that it "strongly supports" the bill, which "would ensure that infants who are born alive, at any stage of development, are individual human beings who are entitled to the full protections of the law," and "would provide guaranteed legal protection whether or not the infant's delivery was natural or the result of an abortion." Babies whose lungs are insufficiently developed to permit sustained survival are often spontaneously delivered alive, and may live for hours or days. Others are delivered alive during attempted late-term abortions or even as a method of late-term abortion. When the legislation was originally introduced in 2000 by Congressman Charles Canady (R-FL), it was attacked by some pro-abortion groups. The National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (NARAL) attacked the bill after its original introduction in 2000. In a July 20, 2000 statement, NARAL said the bill would "effectively grant legal personhood to a pre-viable fetus-in direct conflict with Roe [v. Wade]." "In reality, of course, Roe v. Wade dealt only with the constitutional status of the 'unborn fetus.' There is nothing in Roe to support the claim that infants who are born alive may be considered anything less than legal persons, regardless of their stage of lung development (i.e., 'viability')," eplained Johnson. NARAL later muted their criticism. The bill passed the House 380-15 on September 26, 2000, but it was killed in the Senate by anonymous objection at the end of the 2000 session. The legislation was reintroduced in the current Congress by pro-life Congressman Steve Chabot (R-OH) and pro-life Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA).
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