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Aug. 6, 2002|
President Bush Signs Born-Alive Infants Protection Act |
For the first time since Roe vs. Wade, Congress has acted to bring a baby who has survived an abortion within the protection of federal law. One of the architects of the legislation, Professor Hadley Arkes, who is the Ann and Herbert Vaughan Fellow at the Madison Program, Princeton University, said in a recent column for National Review On-Line that, "The child marked for an abortion is recognized now as an entity that comes within the protection of the law." Now, it is incumbent upon every state to pass similar legislation so that every baby who is born alive in America will have his or her right to life respected and protected.
President George W. Bush signed the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act into law in the presence of Jill Stanek, the nurse who witnessed infanticide in an Illinois hospital and brought the barbaric practice to the attention of Congress and the nation. His remarks, which accompanied the signing, are printed below. Please send messages of appreciation to the President at: The White House - 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C. 20502.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you all very much for this bill signing ceremony. I'm pleased to sign it in the great city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The history of our country is the story of a promise, a promise of life and liberty made at our founding and fulfilled over the centuries in our laws. It is a story of expanding inclusion and protection for the ignored and the weak and the powerless. And now we extend the promise and protection to the most vulnerable members of our society.
Today I sign the Born Alive Infants Protection Act. This important legislation ensures that every infant born alive -- including an infant who survives an abortion procedure -- is considered a person under federal law. (Applause.) This reform was passed with the overwhelming support of both political parties, and it is about to become the law of the land.
I appreciate so very much Senator Rick Santorum and Congressman Steve Chabot of Ohio for sponsoring this important piece of legislation. I also appreciate Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania and Congresswoman Melissa Hart for coming, as well. I want to thank the Bishop of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, Bishop Wuerl, for being here. It's good to see you again, Bishop. I appreciate Hadley Arkes, the Professor of Jurisprudence and American Institutions at Amherst University. I want to thank Jill Stanek, registered nurse, Labor and Delivery Unit, Christ Hospital and Medical Center, for being here, as well. I appreciate Gianna Jessen, who is an abortion survivor and a pro-life advocate. I want to thank Dr. Watson Bowes, who is a Professor Emeritus of Gynecology and Obstetrics at the University of North Carolina.
I want to thank you all for coming. It's important that you're here, to send a signal that you're dedicated to the protection of human life. The issue of abortion divides Americans, no question about it. Yet today we stand on common ground. The Born Alive Infants Protection Act establishes a principle in America law and American conscience: there is no right to destroy a child who has been born alive. (Applause.) A child who is born has intrinsic worth and must have the full protection of our laws.
Today, through sonograms and other technology, we can clearly -- see clearly that unborn children are members of the human family, as well. (Applause.) They reflect our image, and they are created in God's own image.
The Born Alive Infants Protection Act is a step toward the day when every child is welcomed in life and protected in law. (Applause.) It is a step toward the day when the promises of the Declaration of Independence will apply to everyone, not just those with the voice and power to defend their rights. This law is a step toward the day when America fully becomes, in the words of Pope John Paul II, "a hospitable, a welcoming culture."
Our society has enough compassion, wealth and love to care for mothers and their children, and to see the promise and potential of every life. In protecting the vulnerable and the weak, the imperfect and the unwanted, you are affirming a culture of life.
I'm grateful for your perseverance on behalf of this noble cause. I want to thank you for your hard work. I appreciate your care for every member of the human family. Thank you for coming today. It's now my honor and pleasure to sign into law the Born Alive Infants Protection Act. (Applause.)
(The act is signed.) (Applause.)
H.R. 2175 amends the U.S. Code by clarifying that newborns fall under the definitions of "person," "human being," "child," and "individual" as they are used in any act of the Congress or any administrative ruling, regulation, or interpretation. The bill specifically states, "Nothing in this section shall be construed to affirm, deny, expand, or contract any legal status or legal right applicable to any member of the species homo sapiens at any point prior to being 'born alive' as defined in this section."
H.R. 2175 states:
H.R. 2175 States:
H.R.2175 was introduced partly in response to testimony that "live-birth abortions" are performed around the country. A registered nurse from Illinois testified before Congress that she witnessed pregnant mothers being prematurely induced and delivering living premature infants that were then left to die without any medical attention. The hospital where this occurred defended its actions by saying that the newborns were intended for abortion.
In other instances, babies whose lungs are insufficiently developed to permit sustained survival are often spontaneously delivered alive, and may live for hours or days, while some are born alive following deliveries induced for medical reasons. The Born Alive Infant Protection Act would ensure that any infant born alive is treated with the dignity and respect of a human being and given appropriate medical attention regardless of whether he or she was slated for death by abortion.
Early Opposition: In a July 2000 press release, the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (NARAL) declared the Born-Alive bill "attempts to inject Congress into what should be personal and private decisions about medical treatment in difficult and painful situations where a fetus has no chance for survival." NARAL also stated, "The Act would effectively grant legal personhood to a pre-viable fetus-in direct conflict with Roe-and would inappropriately inject prosecutors and lawmakers in to the medical decision-making process." [Note: the bill refers only to newborns, and it appears from NARAL's release that the group equates "newborn" with "fetus"] http://www.nrlc.org/Federal/Born_Alive_Infants/naralbornalive.PDF. In June of last year, NARAL reversed course and released a statement saying, "NARAL does not oppose passage of the Born Alive Infants Protection Act."
Additional Information can be found at http://www.nrlc.org/Federal/Born_Alive_Infants/index.html and a copy of a George Will column entitled, "Does a Woman Having an Abortion Have a Right to a Dead Baby, Even if it is Born Alive?" can be found at http://www.house.gov/burton/RSC/born-ali.htm
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