Raleigh, North Carolina: North Carolina’s House of Representatives failed on Wednesday to overturn a veto of a bill that would have required doctors to try to preserve the life of any infant born alive during an attempted abortion. The override effort fell short of the required three-fifths majority by only five votes.
The bill, titled the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, passed both the North Carolina House and Senate earlier in April. That same week, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper refused to support the bill and issued a veto.
Specifically, the proposed bill attempted to criminalize a physician’s failure to act and preserve life during an abortion. Infants were to be protected at any stage of development if breathing, heartbeat or definite voluntary muscle movements. Health care practitioners who failed to protect an infant born alive would be guilty of a class D felony, while mothers would be barred from prosecution.
Cooper explained his decision the veto in a public letter, noting the bill addressed a practice that no longer exists and would be “an unnecessary interference between doctors and their parents.” North Carolina requires a three-fifths majority in both houses of the General Assembly to override a governor’s veto.
In a press release (see below), House Speaker Tim Moore stated that the failed override effort was the “final vote” on the matter.
House Democrats Block Duty of Care for Living, Breathing Babies Born in North Carolina
A final vote to override Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act failed on Wednesday as state House Democrats successfully prevented a duty of care for all living, breathing North Carolinians born alive in the state.
After a federal judge struck down North Carolina’s limitations on late-term abortions after five months, General Assembly leaders moved to protect children who survive abortions and are living on their own outside the womb with a mandatory duty of care.
The final House vote of 67-53 drew two Democratic votes but failed to reach the requisite three-fifths of members present to override Gov. Cooper’s veto.
“We hoped North Carolina is not New York, that even if liberal judges block late-term abortion limitations we won’t allow living children who are breathing on their own outside the womb, with their eyes open and little limbs moving around, to be left to die in this state,” said Rep. Pat McElraft (R-Carteret).
“Blocking this bill became Democrats’ top priority of the session and we are obviously horrified this veto override failed in the North Carolina House of Representatives today.”
Abortion survivors Gianna Jensen and Claire Culwell were in the state House gallery to witness Democrats’ prevent a duty of care for people like them by joining Gov. Roy Cooper to block Senate Bill 359 Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act.
North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) said he hoped a judge’s decision to strike down the state’s limitations on abortion after 5 months would be still appealed to protect born alive children.
“This is completely different from bills in Alabama and Missouri – this legislation has no provisions regarding pre-birth abortion procedures and only protects North Carolinians after they are born alive and surviving, breathing on their own,” Moore said Wednesday.
“I’ve served in this House since 2003 and heard a lot of bills and debates, but this one was literally life and death, and a vote North Carolinians will never forget.”