An ‘affirmative duty of care to preserve the life of infants’

Article 1, Section 1 of the North Carolina State Constitution holds:

Section 1.  The equality and rights of persons.
We hold it to be self-evident that all persons are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, the enjoyment of the fruits of their own labor, and the pursuit of happiness.

Carolina Journal reports on Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of Senate Bill 359, the “Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act.”

Staff for the nonpartisan Legislative Analysis Division examined the bill and found the following under current law:

Abortion. – An abortion is lawful during the first 20 weeks without a medical emergency, and after the first 20 weeks with a determination of a medical emergency. (G. S. 14-45.1).

Death of an unborn child. – It is a Class D felony to unlawfully cause the death of an unborn child. (G. S. 14-23.1).

Involuntary manslaughter. – It is a Class F felony to kill another human being by a culpably negligent act or omission. (G. S. 14-18).

Second degree murder. – It is a Class B2 felony to kill a child born alive, with malice. (G. S. 14-17).

First degree murder. – It is a Class A felony to kill a child that is born alive, with malice and a specific intent to kill formed after premeditation and deliberation. (G. S. 14-17).

*It is murder if the child is born alive but dies as the result of injuries inflicted prior to the child being born alive.

Essentially, these form the basis of the “Laws already protect newborn babies”/”needless legislation” case as repeated by the governor, his fellow ideologues, and media defenders. But the legislative staff made a distinction that they don’t:

CURRENT LAW: The deliberate killing of infants, including those who have survived an attempted abortion, is a criminal offense.

There are currently no laws requiring an affirmative duty of care to preserve the life of infants who survive attempted abortions.

I’m reminded that Cooper offered no criticism of Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s ghoulish and horrifying comments about terminating babies after live birth. They depicted the lack of an affirmative duty of care to preserve the life of infants: “The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and mother.”

Perhaps one would make the case that it isn’t Cooper’s business to criticize Northam. But perhaps one would see that Cooper quickly invalidated that case by urging Northam to resign for being shown to have posed in an offensive picture in 1984.

Meanwhile, Cooper has conveniently forgotten he made that bold moral stand — a memory lapse that seemed to happen about the time it became clear that hewing to principle could result in putting a Republican in that office.

Jon Sanders / Research Editor and Senior Fellow, Regulatory Studies

Jon Sanders studies regulatory policy, a veritable kudzu of invasive government and unintended consequences. As director of regulatory studies at the John Locke Foundation, Jo...