RALEIGH, N.C. — N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper issued a veto Thursday, striking down a bill written to give explicit legal protections to infants born alive after a late-term abortion.
The governor said in a news release that existing laws already do that.
“Laws already protect newborn babies and this bill is an unnecessary interference between doctors and their patients,” Cooper said. “This needless legislation would criminalize doctors and other healthcare providers for a practice that simply does not exist.”
Senate Bill 359, also known as the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, would require health care practitioners to “exercise the same degree of professional skill, care and diligence to preserve the life and health of the child as reasonably diligent and conscientious health care practitioners would render to any other child born alive at the same gestational age.”
Violation of this law would have been a Class D felony with a fine of no more than $250,000.
The bill also would have added the offense, “Unlawful Killing of Child Born Alive,” to the books, defining it as “Any person who intentionally performs or attempts to perform an overt act that kills a child born alive shall be punished as under G.S. 14-17(c) for murder.”
The bill also required any health care practitioner or employee who knows of a failure to do so to report that failure to state or federal law enforcement.
The North Carolina House of Representatives passed the bill on Tuesday after the Senate passed it on Monday.