Updated: Nov 4, 2020
Originally published June 5, 2019
I am a Whole-Life Democrat. I embrace the life of a woman, life in the womb, and life in the world. I was the only Democrat to vote in support of The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act in Health Committee. I also voted for that same Bill (SB 359) on the House Floor. Research reveals that it is indeed possible for a baby to survive an abortion attempt. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in Florida, Arizona and Minnesota, this occurred 19 times out of 92,000 abortions. That means, statistically, this may happen about 5 times in North Carolina, given the current annual rate of abortions. I voted to support the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act initially because if only one of those precious lives survives, I can, with a clear conscience vote to protect that one life. For me, this legislation is not about abortions or women’s reproductive rights, but ensuring a baby born alive is given appropriate medical care.
After these initial votes, I remained conflicted and wanted to research why North Carolina did not already have laws that would protect a child in these rare circumstances. My research found that infanticide is already illegal in our state. NC General Statute 14-17 makes it a Class B2 felony to kill a child born alive, with malice and a Class A felony to kill a child with premeditation and deliberation. NC General Statute 14-18 makes it a Class F felony to kill a child through negligence. Finally, NC General Statute 14-23.1 makes it a Class D felony to unlawfully cause the death of an unborn child.
Any baby BORN in our state is considered a human being and treated as such. On the very rare occurrence when doctors have not acted to save the life, they faced criminal prosecution. Current law is sufficient. SB 359 does nothing to further protect the life of a baby. Therefore, what was the intention of SB 359 when we already have laws to protect babies born alive? Given these facts, I have voted to sustain Governor Cooper’s veto on this bill.
Because of my whole-life commitment, it is my hope we will turn our attention to ensuring when babies enter the world, they are not subjected to food insecurity, gender inequality, economic segregation, regional health disparities, poverty, inferior public schools, or low life expectancy. It’s time to shift the conversation to these pro-life issues.
– James D. Gailliard