Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed a pro-life bill into law Wednesday to ensure that babies who survive abortions receive life-saving medical care.
DeWine, a pro-life Republican, signed the Born-Alive Infant Protection Act (Senate Bill 157) surrounded by a Christmas tree and other decorations commemorating the birth of the Christ Child. The state legislature passed the bill by a strong majority earlier this month.
After the signing, Ohio Right to Life thanked the governor for his commitment to protecting life.
“Thank you Governor Mike DeWine for signing the Born-Alive Infant Protection Act (SB 157) into law today,” Ohio Right to Life said in a statement online. “Every child deserves to be treated with compassion and dignity, no matter what the circumstances of his or her birth. We are glad that Ohio law will recognize this and protect children born alive after a failed abortion.”
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The new law requires doctors to provide the same degree of medical care to a baby who survives an abortion that they would to any other infant born at the same gestational age. According to the Ohio Capital Journal, it also expands the criminal definition of manslaughter to include abortionists who neglect to provide medical care to a baby who is born alive in an abortion. Those who fail to do so could face felony charges.
Additionally, it sets up a reporting requirement through the Ohio Department of Health to keep track of how many babies survive abortions each year.
While the main focus of the bill is protecting babies who survive abortions from neglect, it also includes a provision involving abortion facilities being prepared to help women suffering from emergency complications.
According to Cleveland.com, that provision could force the Women’s Med Center in Dayton and Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio in Cincinnati to close.
Ohio requires abortion facilities to have transfer agreements with local hospitals for the purposes of treating patients suffering from serious complications. A variance allows abortion facilities to have consulting agreements with local doctors instead.
The bill amends the variance provision by prohibiting abortion facilities from having consulting agreements with doctors who work for taxpayer-funded hospitals, universities or other public institutions, according to the report.
Both the Women’s Med Center and Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio operate under this variance. When the law goes into effect, the Ohio Department of Health could revoke their licenses unless they find other doctors or hospitals to work with.
If they both close, Cincinnati would be “the biggest metropolitan in Ohio without an abortion provider,” according to Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio.
Previously, Mary Parker, director of legislative affairs at Ohio Right to Life, told LifeNews that the legislation is necessary to hold abortionists accountable.
“No baby in Ohio, regardless of the circumstances surrounding his or her birth, should be left alone to die,” Parker said. “This vital anti-infanticide legislation will ensure that a baby who survives a botched abortion receives life-saving care. It will also hold abortionists accountable by establishing a reporting requirement to document when a child is born alive after an attempted abortion. Ohio Right to Life will continue to advocate for the right to life of every defenseless child, both born and unborn.”
Babies do survive abortions, though no one is sure exactly how many. Only a few states keep track of abortion survivors.
Between 2016 and 2018, three states reported 40 babies were born alive after botched abortions. According to the state health data, 11 babies were born alive in Minnesota, 10 in Arizona and 19 in Florida. Texas reported six babies were born alive in botched abortions in 2019. In Michigan, state health reports from 2008 through 2013 indicate that 11 babies were born alive after abortions.
Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control, as well as the personal testimonies of nurses and abortion survivors themselves, also provide evidence that babies survive abortions. According to the CDC, at least 143 babies were born alive after botched abortions between 2003 and 2014 in the U.S., though there likely are more.
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