Texas Governor Greg Abbott made a spectacle of signing a new bill into law that would make it illegal to kill a baby that survives an abortion attempt — an act that would constitute infanticide and is already illegal in every state.
“Today I’m proud to be here to sign the Texas Born Alive Act,” the Republican said. “This law defends the sanctity of life and creates civil and criminal penalties for infanticide in Texas.”
Abbott said the bill “also ensures that the baby receives needed medical care.”
The governor’s bill signing event plays into Republicans’ fictitious narrative where Democrats and doctors are working together to end the lives of newly born babies.
In reality, the vast majority of abortions are performed well before a fetus is viable outside the womb, with only “about 1.3 percent of abortions in the United States in 2015 were performed in or after the 21st week of pregnancy, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”
Further, fewer than 1 percent of all abortions occur after 24 weeks — the point at which a healthy fetus becomes viable — most of which are performed because the “fetus has a fatal condition or the pregnant woman’s life or health is at severe risk.”
Dr. Daniel Grossman, a professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at the University of California, San Francisco, told The New York Times earlier this year that sometimes mothers face “painful situations in which the fetus might be at the edge of viability and labor must be induced to save the mother’s life.”
The only treatment for pre-eclampsia in most cases, for example, is to deliver the baby, otherwise both the mother and fetus’ lives can be lost. In those cases, if it seems unlikely the baby will survive, the parents “may choose to provide just comfort care — wrapping and cuddling the baby — and allow the child to die naturally without extreme attempts at resuscitation.”
Laws such as the one signed in Texas this week would require doctors to resuscitate the baby, regardless of the parents’ wishes.