For a second time, North Carolina’s Republican-majority legislature is moving to make it a crime to not treat infants who survive abortion.
The Senate passed the legislation in a party-line vote Tuesday evening, but the bill is likely to meet the same fate that a similar bill met just two years ago.
Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed that 2019 bill, saying laws already protect newborn babies, and that the legislation was unnecessary. The legislature did not have enough support from Democratic lawmakers to override that veto.
Republicans’ second attempt to criminalize doctors who don’t provide care to abortion survivors comes as a federal appeals court considers reinstating North Carolina’s ban on abortions after 20 weeks. Lawmakers are pushing to pass the legislation because, they say, if the law is struck down, more babies could be “born alive.”
Sen. Joyce Krawiec, one of the main sponsors of the bill, said the legislation is “more important now than ever.”
“We’re going to have more and more babies that will be in that situation,” said Krawiec, a Republican from Kernersville.
The bill will likely pass North Carolina’s House, too, but is expected to again be met with a veto by Cooper. Though the legislature is majority-Republican, lawmakers may once again not have enough support from Democrats to meet the required three-fifths of support in each chamber to override the veto. Just 28 senators voted in favor of the legislation Monday night, while 21 voted against it.
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