Susan S. Arnall, Esq.
Vice President of Legal Affairs
for the Right to Life League
SACRAMENTO – On Thursday, May 26th, the California State Assembly voted 48 to 21 to advance AB 2223, known as the Infanticide Bill, to the state senate for further consideration. The bill has faced strenuous opposition because it decriminalizes the killing of a baby born alive.
The initial version of the bill asserted a “right to privacy” excusing mothers and anyone assisting them from any type of inquiry concerning the causes of “miscarriage, stillbirth, abortion or perinatal death.” Perinatal death is defined as the death of any baby born alive.
Following public outcry, Assemblywoman Buffy Wicks amended AB 2223, modifying the clause to include “perinatal death due to a pregnancy-related cause.”
What exactly are “causes that occurred in utero?”
The latest version of AB 2223 adds Section 123467 to the Health and Safety Code to read:
(a) Notwithstanding any other law, a person shall not be subject to civil or criminal liability or penalty, or otherwise deprived of their rights under this article, based on their actions or omissions with respect to their pregnancy or actual, potential, or alleged pregnancy outcome, including miscarriage, stillbirth, or abortion, or perinatal death due to causes that occurred in utero.
(b) A person who aids or assists a pregnant person in exercising their rights under this article shall not be subject to civil or criminal liability or penalty, or otherwise be deprived of their rights, based solely on their actions to aid or assist a pregnant person in exercising their rights under this article with the pregnant person’s voluntary consent.
Now, after continued pressure, Wick’s latest amendment is another overbroad, vague clause including “perinatal death due to causes that occurred in utero.” What does that mean exactly?
Conception happens in utero. All genetic issues arise there too. Even delivery itself begins in utero. This vague phrase does not define any limit; rather, it justifies and excuses the intent to kill a baby born alive by pointing to vague, blanket occurrences that happened at some undefined time prior to the baby’s birth.
“Perinatal” means born alive
“Perinatal death due to causes that occurred in utero” is a vague, undefined phrase protecting those who assist in the killing of a baby born alive by pointing to something that happened at any time before the baby’s birth and chilling investigation of a perinatal death.
Section 7 expands abortion past birth by protecting anyone who assists in a bringing about a chosen “pregnancy outcome” which includes the death of an infant born alive. The bill doesn’t define the term “perinatal” – but a variety of medical dictionaries define the term to begin at conception and continue through the first month of life. And existing California law already defines “perinatal” to mean “the period from the establishment of pregnancy to one month following delivery.”
Eviscerates infant born alive protection
Section 7 of AB 2223 begins with the words “Notwithstanding any other law.” That language potentially negates and overrides California Health and Safety Code Section 123435 which protects the rights of an infant prematurely born alive in the course of an abortion. AB 2223 erodes this preexisting legal protection for babies born alive, specifically exempting from civil or criminal liability – not just mothers – but anyone who “aids or assists” in perinatal death.
Chills investigation of why a baby died
AB 2223 intentionally chills all investigation of the CAUSE of the perinatal death, makes a coroner’s report useless and intimidates investigators with a civil cause of action against them that can include punitive damages.
If a 28-day-old baby dies from abandonment or the mother’s neglect, and police investigate and eventually arrest her for the baby’s death, the mother can sue the police for monetary damages plus attorneys’ fees. Nor can the state prosecute any other people who helped the mom kill that baby born alive. An earlier article explains how AB 2223 protects from investigation ANYONE connected with a “perinatal death.”
Now AB 2223 heads into the Senate for another round of review. That is the last opportunity to stop legalized infanticide.