WASHINGTON, D.C., JULY 21, 2002 (Zenit.org).- President George W. Bush is expected to sign a bill ensuring that every infant born alive is considered a person under federal law — a move that supporters say will prevent the practice of “live-birth” abortions.
The bill was aimed at infants who have survived an abortion attempt or are too undeveloped to survive, the Washington Times reported.
Supporters of the measure say it is necessary to prevent so-called live-birth abortions, where the doctor induces premature labor and, if the baby is alive after birth, it is allowed to die.
A nurse who worked at Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn, Illinois, testified before a House subcommittee that doctors at the hospital used the procedure in the past, and that live infants sometimes were left alone to die in a utility closet.
Proponents of the bill, which was approved by unanimous consent in the Senate late Thursday, say it is needed because there has been an erosion of the legal rights of born-alive infants. The U.S. House passed the bill in March.
Under the bill, the legal definition of “person,” “human being,” “child” and “individual” under federal laws and federal agency rules would include any human who is born alive, meaning he or she is completely outside the mother’s body and has a beating heart or shows other signs of life. Thirty states and the District of Columbia have similar laws on the books.