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Senate committee advances “born alive” abortion bill

The legislation would make it a class A felony in Alabama for a physician not to provide competent care.

The Alabama Statehouse in Montgomery.

The Alabama Senate Health Committee gave a favorable report on April 7 to legislation requiring that a doctor who is administrating an abortion provide competent medical care to that child if the child survives the abortion. House Bill 237 is sponsored by state Rep. Ginny Shaver, R-Leesburg.

Shaver said there are documented instances of a child that survived a botched late-term abortion being allowed to die without any medical assistance from the medical professionals who performed the abortion. Shaver, who has worked in crisis pregnancy centers to convince women not to have abortions, said that this has happened in Alabama: “We do not have late-term abortions in Alabama so it is admittedly rare.”

“If a child is born alive in an abortion or attempted abortion, the attending physician must give that child the same degree of professional skill or diligence that any other child would receive,” Shaver said.

Shaver said that fetal viability continues to improve at earlier and earlier ages.

“This makes it a class A felony,” Shaver said of the criminal penalty for failure to provide proper medical care to the child under this legislation.

State Sen. Jack Williams, R-Wilmer, motioned to give HB237 a favorable report. The motion carried and the bill received a favorable report. The Senate Health Committee is chaired by Sen. Jim McClendon, R-Springville.

The born alive bill has already passed the Alabama House of Representatives and could be addressed by the full Senate as early as Tuesday. Shaver was asked afterward if the thought that her bill had a good chance for passage in the Senate.

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“Yes, I do, who could be against this bill?” Shaver said.

Alabama is a strongly pro-life state that recently passed a constitutional amendment banning abortion if the federal court system overturns the Roe vs. Wade decision, which forbids states like Alabama from enforcing prohibitions on abortions.

Tuesday will be day 22 of the 2021 Legislative Session.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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