Is SB359 unnecessary as claimed by Governor Cooper in the 2019 veto?


The top talking point against the bill from Cooper and legislative Democrats was that it was “unnecessary.” Many opponents claimed state and federal laws already provide protections for infants born under such circumstances. During the debate, Born-Alive Act sponsor Senator Joyce Krawiec refuted the claim that the bill was unnecessary. “No, we do not have laws in place protecting babies who are born alive as the result of an abortion and the staff for the State’s nonpartisan Legislative Analysis Division examined the bill and found the following current laws:

  • “Abortion” – Currently an abortion is lawful during the first 20 weeks without a medical emergency, and after the first 20 weeks with a determination of a medical emergency. (G. S. 14-45.1) – Law challenged by District Judge William Osteen’s March 25 ruling. 
  • “Death of an unborn child” – It is a Class D felony to unlawfully cause the death of an unborn child. (G. S. 14-23.1).
  • “Involuntary manslaughter” – It is a Class F felony to kill another human being by a culpably negligent act or omission. (G. S. 14-18).
  • “Second degree murder” – It is a Class B2 felony to kill a child born alive, with malice. (G. S. 14-17).
  • “First degree murder” – It is a Class A felony to kill a child that is born alive, with malice and a specific intent to kill formed after premeditation and deliberation. (G. S. 14-17).

The staff made a distinction that current law clearly states that the deliberate killing of infants, including those who have survived an attempted abortion, is a criminal offense but there are currently no laws requiring an affirmative duty of care to preserve the life of infants who survive attempted abortions.

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