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Lawmakers turn down born infant protection bill

State lawmakers voted down a bill March 3 intended to protect infants born after botched abortions, saying the legislation “is not needed.”

Legislators on a House committee struggled with questions about life while hearing testimony on the Born-Alive Act at the state Capitol before Democrats rejected the legislation by a vote of 6-7.

Opponents to the bill and some Democrats on the committee argued a law protecting infants is already stated in federal law.

“It is solving a non-existent problem,” Karen Middleton, executive director at NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado, testified to the committee. “The Born-Alive Infant Protection Act of federal law already states this is a situation that should not occur. There is no problem to be solved here. We do not believe this occurs here.”

Proponents shot back that failed abortions do occur, and when it does, infants deserve appropriate medical care if born alive.

Sarah Zagorski, executive director of Colorado Citizens for Life, said it would save infants just like her.

“If my mother hadn’t fought for me, I wouldn’t be here today,” the 25-year-old testified.

Zagorski shared how doctors recommended abortion to her mother because of suspected long-term disabilities but after being born alive, her mother requested medical care.

“My life matters. I have value and I have since the very beginning. Let’s hope and pray my situation isn’t being repeated here,” she told the committee.

Shortly after the bill failed, the Colorado Catholic Conference stated in an email that it was disappointed at the lack of bi-partisan support.

“It is deeply disappointing that Democrats on this committee choose to vote against protecting innocent, defenseless human life,” the conference stated. “The federal government and a majority of states have adopted Born-Alive Infant Protection legislation; it is a great misfortune that Colorado couldn’t do the same.”

Similar protection acts have passed some 30 states’ legislatures in the U.S. including at the federal level. In 2002, Democrats and Republicans passed the Born-Alive Infant Protection Act, reportedly drawing the support of Democrats.

Rep. Lois Landgraf, R-Colorado Springs, who attends St. Dominic Church in Colorado Springs, said she decided to sponsor the bill when thinking about abortionist Kermit Gosnell, who was convicted in Philadelphia of murdering three viable babies after delivering them.

While she acknowledged during the hearing there were no known cases of killing infants born alive, Landgraf said she wanted preventative measures.

“I would like to make sure that it isn’t and that it won’t happen here,” she told the Denver Catholic.

The bill would have required a physician performing an abortion to take “medically appropriate and reasonable steps to preserve the life and health” of an infant if there are signs of life: a heartbeat, breathing, an umbilical cord pulsation or movement.

Opponents said they worried it limited abortion in Colorado where it’s legal to get a late-term abortion while supporters wanted assurances that there would be protections for infants at private hospitals where the federal protection act did not apply.

Landgraf said the federal bill would have expanded to protect infants at all hospitals and under all providers.

“This is about keeping a baby born alive, alive,” Landgraf told the Denver Catholic. “They deserve to be treated like any other baby and given a chance.”

 

Legislative Watch
The Colorado Catholic Conference is involved in supporting and opposing other bills during this legislative session. Click here for an updated list of proposed legislation being considered by state lawmakers.

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