A Kentucky bill providing legal protections to infants who survive abortion has again been passed by the state senate, although it is expected to be vetoed a second time by Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear.
Senators unanimously passed the bill 32-0 earlier this year before Beshear subsequently rejected it. Beshear said the law already mandated life-saving medical treatment when a child is born. When asked further about his decision, Beshear said he would not discuss the matter.
"I'm just not doing divisive issues right now; we've got to defeat this coronavirus," he said in April.
The Kentucky bill resembles the federal Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, which has been blocked by Senate Democrats for the last two years. The bill would define infants who survive an abortion as legal persons, making it a criminal offense for abortion clinics to leave a child to die.
"It is not an infringement on a woman's asserted right to terminate her pregnancy for this Commonwealth to affirm its interest in protecting an infant whose live birth occurred as the result of an attempted abortion," says the bill.
The bill pushes back on Beshear's assertions that such children are already protected under law, saying there is currently no legal consequence for leaving a child to die.
The legislation also ensures that excuses such as disabilities cannot be used to justify letting an abortion survivor die and requires abortion doctors to "take all medically appropriate and reasonable steps to preserve the life and health of a born-alive infant."
Pro-abortion groups such as Planned Parenthood have opposed the bill, arguing its intent is "to shame patients and threaten healthcare providers." A doctor testifying on behalf of Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky also argued that such children should be referred to "as a non-viable fetus."
🔦 There are currently no legal consequences for leaving abortion survivors to die of exposure in 16 states. According to the Family Research Council in 2019, there are also only 15 states that have strong legislation to protect abortion survivors, and only eight actually require any type of reporting on infants who survive abortion. In just five states over the past five years, there have been more than 100 children who have been left to die in such situations.