A representative from Planned Parenthood refused to say to Florida legislators that babies who survived an abortion should not be killed. Alisa LaPolt Snow of Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates was invited to speak before the House Civil Justice Subcommittee on March 27 on HB1129, a bill mandating that abortion survivors receive medical care from hospitals. It ultimately passed the subcommittee by a 10-2 vote.
Snow shocked Florida lawmakers by her comments. When asked by Rep. Jim Boyd (R) what should happen to babies born alive after failed abortions, Snow replied, “um, well, we believe that any decision is made should be left up to the woman, her family, and the physician.”
Rep. Daniel Davis (R) then pressed her on what PP’s physicians do when a “baby is alive, breathing on a table, moving,” to which Snow said she does not have that information.
Later, another legislator pointed out that the child would now be considered a patient. “Uh, that’s a very good question. I really don’t know how to answer that,” replied Snow. Another lawmaker asked her what objections she has towards mandating that a newborn be transported to a hospital. Snow said she was concerned about “where it is in a rural health care setting, the hospital is 45 minutes or an hour away…you know there’s just some logistical issues involved that we have some concerns about.”
Florida Rep. Cary Pigman (R), an emergency medicine physician and sponsor of HB1129, told the subcommittee that in 2010 there were 1,270 babies of 22 weeks gestation or older who were reported to have died after a botched abortion. This echoes the recent Canadian discovery by pro-life blogger Patricia Maloney that 491 babies of 20 weeks gestation or older were left to die after failed abortions from 2000 to 2009, leading three Conservative MPs to call on the RCMP to launch a criminal investigation.
In 2002, former President George W. Bush signed the Born Alive Infants Protection Act of 2002 into law, which protects babies born alive after abortions. President Barack Obama opposed a similar bill put forward before the Illinois legislature.
Pro-life nurse Jill Stanek, who discovered that babies born after botched abortions were being left to die in a Chicago-area hospital, reported that HB1129 goes beyond the 2002 law, as it establishes “parity” between all infants born alive and makes “infant born alive” a “reportable item.” The child is also surrendered over to the state, although this provision will probably be amended. Lawmakers have added a “neutrality clause,” which indicates there is no change in legal status of an unborn child. Planned Parenthood had earlier objected to the absence of such a clause, as well as to the “surrender” provision.
Planned Parenthood said HB1129 “inserts politics where it doesn’t belong by implying doctors and women who end a pregnancy can’t be trusted … it is important that abortion remain a safe and legal medical procedure for a woman to consider with her doctor, if and when she needs it.”
PP later withdrew its opposition to the bill due to an amendment, as Lillian Tamayo, a PP representative, told the House Health and Human Services Committee on April 4. She said that “while HB 1129 addresses a situation that is extremely unlikely and highly unusual, if the scenario presented by the legislation should happen, of course a Planned Parenthood doctor would provide appropriate care to both the woman and the infant.”
Melissa Ohden of the Abortion Survivors Network supports the Florida bill, and was critical of PP’s original position. “By not providing medical care for survivors of failed abortions like myself, by not ever allowing the truth about survivors that they experience in their work to get out in the open, they are protecting their ‘work,’ which is ending the lives of children,” Ohden told The Interim in an email regarding PP’s opposition to protecting newborns. “The fact that we are seeing the true nature of the abortion industry gives me hope that we are moving forward in this fight for the respect of all life from the moment of conception.”
Ohden added: “The slippery slope has been seen in full daylight…once abortion advocates support abortion on demand for any reason, at any stage of pregnancy, then there is no clear stopping point for them.”