A new California bill backed by prominent leaders would permit infanticide by legalizing “perinatal death,” a medical phrase that includes the time after birth, pro-life activists are warning.
Supporters of the bill, AB 2223, say it would ensure that pregnant women cannot be prosecuted for an abortion, miscarriage or stillbirth. The bill’s language, though, extends beyond those three categories, critics say.
Specifically, AB 2223 says “a person shall not be subject to civil or criminal liability or penalty” due to their “miscarriage, stillbirth, or abortion, or perinatal death.”
Further, the bill protects anyone “who aids or assists a pregnant person in exercising their rights under this” bill.
Merriam-Webster defines “perinatal death” as “occurring in, concerned with, or being in the period around the time of birth.” A 2005 article in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health defined perinatal as the “time period starting at 22 completed weeks (154 days) gestation and lasting through seven days after birth.”
AB 2223 was named a priority bill by the California Future of Abortion Council, which California Gov. Gavin Newsom supports. The council lists Newsom as a participant. Members of the council include Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice California.
“Although definitions of ‘perinatal death’ vary, all of them include the demise of newborns seven days or more after birth,” Greg Burt of the California Family Council wrote in a blog on the organization’s website.
The bill, Burt said, would “codify the killing of unborn children throughout all nine months of pregnancy but to decriminalize killing newborns days or even weeks after birth.”
Jonathan Keller, president of California Family Council, said “every Californian” should oppose the bill. He called it “heinous.”
“For years, pro-life advocates have argued there is no moral difference between ending a child’s life days before birth or days after birth. California’s pro-abortion legislators now seemingly agree,” Keller said. “A political culture that justifies killing millions of children in the womb is now declaring open season on unwanted newborns.”
The Life Legal Defense Foundation also opposes the bill. The bill “removes all civil and criminal penalties for killing babies born alive under any circumstances,” said attorney and chief executive officer Alexandra Snyder of the Life Legal Defense Foundation.
“The bill expressly authorizes any person to facilitate late-term abortions and infanticide without legal repercussions,” Snyder said.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Jacek Sopotnicki
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.