MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Doctors could face prison sentences if they fail to try to save babies “born alive” after an attempted abortion, under a bill approved Thursday night by the Alabama House of Representatives.
Lawmakers voted 76-12 for the bill by Republican Rep. Ginny Shaver of Leesburg. It now moves to the Alabama Senate. Shaver argued the law was needed to protect babies while opponents of the bill said the legislation was unneeded because what Shaver was describing is already illegal.
“Laws already exist to protect children from the moment they are born and exit the womb and there’s absolutely no loophole that would allow infanticide without severe criminal penalty,” said Rep. Neil Rafferty, D-Birmingham.
Shaver, who worked at a crisis pregnancy center, said she heard of case where a doctor did not aid a baby that was living after an abortion attempt. Democrats pressed for details, but Shaver said she could not disclose them for privacy reasons.
“This is not about abortion. This is about a baby’s right to life,” Shaver said.
Alabama doesn’t allow abortions at or after 22 weeks of pregnancy as measured by the woman’s last menstrual period. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, babies born before 23 weeks of pregnancy usually do not survive with very rare exceptions.