Support Infant Survivors of Attempted Abortion (SB 741-FN)

baby

Full text of testimony on SB 741-FN submitted to the Senate Health and Human Services Committee by Shannon McGinley, Executive Director, Cornerstone Action.

Please vote Ought to Pass on SB 741-FN, a thoughtfully-drafted bill calling for enforceable protections for an infant surviving attempted abortion. This legislation is about a situation arising after abortion, after a pregnancy has been terminated, after a woman has exercised a reproductive medical decision. Roe v. Wade addresses abortion rather than infanticide, and therefore has no bearing on SB 741-FN. 

You heard some testimony at the Tuesday, February 4 hearing on this bill from medical professionals who were indignant at any suggestion that they fail to care for children born prematurely, whose families face complicated decisions. What those professionals failed to address was the situation of children who survive attempted abortions. Sen. Birdsell has presented you with a bill that makes it clear the duty to care for a newborn is not affected by the circumstances of that child’s birth. A woman chooses pregnancy termination, a provider accommodates her, and the result is a living human being: that child deserves the same legal protection as any other child born at the same gestational age under other circumstances. Reasonable and medically appropriate care are what the bill calls for. 

The federal born-alive law from 2002 does not address how born-alive children who are abortion survivors are to be treated under state law. New Hampshire’s own born-alive law, passed more than a decade ago, contained no penalties for failure to exercise appropriate care for a born-alive child. SB 741-FN remedies both of those statutory gaps.

An emergency medical technician from the Upper Valley testified recently before a committee in the other chamber on legislation addressing the same concerns. She was unable to be with your committee at the hearing on SB 741-FN, but she has asked us to convey her message: “In the field, an EMT who is presented with a patient who has a heartbeat, is breathing, OR has definitive movement of voluntary muscles has a duty to act. Failure to do so constitutes abandonment.” Why should the situation be any different for a newborn who has survived attempted abortion?

We commend to you the statement of finding in SB 741-FN: “The general court hereby finds that it is the purpose of the state of New Hampshire to assert a compelling state interest in protecting the life of any infant born alive as a legal person for all purposes under the laws of the state of New Hampshire, and entitled to all the protections of such laws, including the right to medically appropriate and reasonable care and treatment.”

Please vote Ought to Pass on SB 741-FN. Thank you.