North Carolina House Fails to Override Governor’s Veto of ‘Born Alive’ Abortion Bill

North Carolina governor Roy Cooper (Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters)

The North Carolina House of Representatives on Wednesday failed to override Democratic Governor Roy Cooper’s veto of the state’s “born alive” abortion bill that would have imposed criminal penalties on doctors who refuse to give the same level of care to an infant born alive during an abortion as any other infant.

Lawmakers voted 67 to 53 in favor of overriding the veto but failed to reach the 60 percent required to do so. The North Carolina Senate approved the override several weeks ago.

“Laws already protect newborn babies, and this bill is an unnecessary interference between doctors and their patients,” Cooper said in April when he vetoed the bill. “This needless legislation would criminalize doctors and other healthcare providers for a practice that simply does not exist.”

Under the “Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act,” a doctor must “exercise the same degree of professional skill, care and diligence to preserve the life and health of the child” who survives an abortion as they would to “any other child born alive at the same gestational age.” Furthermore, a person who “performs an overt act” that kills a newborn “born alive” could be tried for murder.

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Health care providers who do not comply would face a felony charge and a fine of up to $250,000.

“Instead of passing unnecessary legislation for political purposes we need to move on from divisive social issues and focus on the needs of North Carolina families: education, health care and good-paying jobs,” Cooper said Wednesday as lawmakers allowed his veto to stand.

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