The statute ensures that any infant who is fully born and shows signs of life is considered a human person entitled to the full protection of the law — whether or not the baby is born during a failed abortion.
Congress passed the Born-Alive Act in 2002 after hearing testimony about the delivery and neglect of living infants during failed abortions. Nurses at Christ Hospital in Illinois, for example, testified that numerous babies were born alive and then left to die, sometimes in utility closets.
“Roe v. Wade may currently leave our country helpless to defend infants moments before birth, but even now we can and must protect those struggling for their lives outside the womb,” said Cathy Ruse, spokeswoman for the bishops’ Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities. “We applaud the Department of Health and Human Services for initiating this important and humane effort.”
In Friday’s announcement, Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt vowed to “investigate all circumstances where individuals and entities are reported to be withholding medical care from an infant born alive in potential violation of federal statutes.”