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“Infanticide Bill” Amended After Huge Public Outcry, But Serious Problems Remain

Yesterday, a bill pro-lifers dubbed the “Infanticide Bill,” AB 2223, passed the Assembly Appropriations Committee after an amendment that “largely” removed the text decriminalizing infanticide. Legislators made the change after thousands of pro-life advocates came to Sacramento on April 19 to oppose the bill. 

The amendment confirmed the concerns California Family Council raised regarding the section that decriminalized “perinatal death.” The change came despite multiple media outlets offering “fact checks” attempting to dismiss California Family Council’s warnings that AB 2223 would decriminalize killing newborns up to 30 days after birth. 

Previously, AB 2223 shielded a mother and anyone who assisted her from civil and criminal charges for any “actions or omissions” related to her pregnancy, “including miscarriage, stillbirth, or abortion, or perinatal death due to a pregnancy-related cause.” Perinatal death is the death of a newborn seven days, a month, or more after birth. The new amendment added yesterday changes the bill to read, “perinatal death due to causes that occurred in utero.” 

“Yesterday’s amendment confirms that, as originally drafted, AB 2223 erased the line stopping abortion at birth and legalized infanticide,” said Jonathan Keller, President of California Family Council. “Despite the clarification surrounding ‘perinatal death’, this remains a deadly and dangerously flawed bill.” 

“While this revision is a huge victory for the thousands of California citizens who rallied in opposition to AB 2223, our work is not done. CFC and our allies urge Assemblywoman Wicks to withdraw her bill entirely.”

Constitutional Attorney Dean Broyles, President of the National Center for Law and Policy, had a similar reaction. “AB-2223’s amendment yesterday was transparently made in response to widespread criticism that this aggressive abortion bill extended legal protections for child-killing beyond the womb. The new language unfortunately appears to still protect those who fail to provide medical assistance to abortion-injured babies born alive (i.e., the Ralph Northam hypothetical) but no longer appears to permit other types of infanticide. I still really wish this bad bill didn’t exist, but I am thankful that its most barbaric protections for post-birth infanticide have been removed.” 

Despite these changes, the California Family Council still considers this bill a dangerous violation of human rights for the child and the mother.  AB 2223 still contains plenty of provisions that still threaten babies and their mothers. For instance:

  • AB 2223 has this horrible provision: “(b) A person who aids or assists a pregnant person in exercising their rights under this article shall not be subject to civil or criminal liability or penalty, or otherwise be deprived of their rights, based solely on their actions to aid or assist a pregnant person in exercising their rights under this article with the pregnant person’s voluntary consent.”

    This language means there is no punishment for anyone violating any abortion health and safety standards for any reason when performing an abortion on a woman through all nine months of pregnancy right up to the moment of birth. Back-alley abortions on viable unborn babies by unlicensed abortionists could not be punished even if done by untrained novices trying to make quick money off abortions done in a garage. How does that protect the health and safety of women?
  • AB 2223 has this terrible provision as explained in the Assembly Health Committee analysis: “Clarifies that existing law requiring a coroner to examine a fetus and state on the certificate of fetal death, among other things, the direct causes of the fetal death, the conditions, if any, that gave rise to the cause or causes, is prohibited from being used to establish, bring, or support a criminal prosecution or civil cause of action seeking damages against any person, whether or not they were the person who was pregnant with the fetus.”

    So if a coroner investigates the alleged “stillborn” baby’s body and discovers the baby was not stillborn, but born breathing and died of asphyxiation, that evidence couldn’t be used to prosecute anyone for infanticide.

     

  • AB 2223 gives a mother the right to sue any law enforcement agency for investigating or threatening to investigate her “pregnancy outcome.” So if someone finds a dead newborn in a dumpster, law enforcement is expected to ask no questions or look further into the matter if they suspect the child died after a failed abortion or from any cause that happened before the child was born.

     

  • Even with the new amendment narrowing the meaning of “perinatal death,” AB 2223 will still prohibit prosecution of a mother or someone assisting her for causing the death of her born or unborn child if the child died because of injuries sustained while in the womb. That would include injuries caused by a botched abortion, illegal drugs such as meth or heroin, or even a beating by a boyfriend, if the woman refuses to press charges.

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