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House OKs protection for newborn children

WASHINGTON (BP)–The U.S. House of Representatives again has approved a bill providing legal protection to fully delivered babies, even when abortion is intended.

The House approved by voice vote March 12 the Born Alive Infants Protection Act, H.R. 2175. The bill clarifies a newborn child fully outside his mother’s womb is a person to be protected under federal law.

The Senate has yet to act on the bill this year, although it approved the measure as an amendment to other legislation last year.

A Southern Baptist Convention representative commended the House leadership for its action on the bill.

“It is time for federal law to recognize the obvious — a newborn child is a person worthy of full legal protection and care,” said Shannon Royce, director of government relations for the SBC’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. “Thirty states and the District of Columbia have codified definitions nearly identical to those contained in this bill.”

The bill was first proposed in 2000 after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a state law barring partial-birth abortions and after congressional testimony was heard describing an abortion method in which newborns who survive are allowed to die. The procedure, which nurses testified is used at Christ Hospital in Chicago, is called live-birth abortion. In the method, delivery is induced. If the baby survives the procedure, he is left unattended to die.

The House passed the bill in 2000, but the Senate failed to act on it.

Last year, each house approved the measure as an amendment to the Patients’ Bill of Rights. A conference committee did not report out a final version of the patients’ bill, however.

The ERLC and nearly all other pro-life organizations support the legislation.