ROE Act Supporters Say They Don’t Support Infanticide; Maybe They Should Read Their Bill

Printed from:

We congratulate Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker for expressing opposition to late-term abortions in the face of the so-called ROE Act bill on Beacon Hill.

Of course, Baker’s logic doesn’t hold up – it makes no sense to oppose late-term abortions when a baby is almost fully formed and still support earlier abortions when the only difference is degree of development. A human being is a human being, and either deserves protection of the right to live or doesn’t, no matter the human being’s age.

But logic isn’t the most important thing in life. In this case, Baker’s apparent opposition to the ROE Act may help defeat it, which may save some lives. For that, we salute him.

We have to correct the governor on one thing he said Monday, though, when he implied that Jim Lyons, the chairman of the Massachusetts Republican Party, used “inflated language” when he called the ROE Act a “radical infanticide bill.”

Did he?

Infanticide is the killing of an infant, which is a newborn baby.

Here below is what state law currently says about abortions after 24 weeks – meaning third-trimester abortions. It’s Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 112, Section 12M:

If a pregnancy has existed for twenty-four weeks or more, no abortion may be performed except by a physician and only if it is necessary to save the life of the mother, or if a continuation of her pregnancy will impose on her a substantial risk of grave impairment of her physical or mental health.

“Mental health” is the key term in the law – since mental health isn’t a measurable standard, it can easily be used to justify an abortion any time, including after 24 weeks, including up until birth. That’s why there’s practically no late-term restriction on abortion in Massachusetts currently.

But leave that aside. Understanding that Section 12M is about abortions after 24 weeks, see what the law currently says about babies born alive after an attempted abortion. It’s Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 112, Section 12P:

If an abortion is performed pursuant to section twelve M, the physician performing the abortion shall take all reasonable steps, both during and subsequent to the abortion, in keeping with good medical practice, consistent with the procedure being used, to preserve the life and health of the aborted child. Such steps shall include the presence of life-supporting equipment, as defined by the department of public health, in the room where the abortion is to be performed.

Is that clear enough?

Now check out a portion of the proposed ROE Act. Keep in mind that Section 1 of the bill creates a new version of Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 112, Section 12K, defining “pregnancy” as “the presence of an implanted human embryo or fetus within a person’s uterus.”

Given that, here’s Massachusetts Senate Bill 1209, Section 2:

Said Chapter 112 of the General Laws is hereby further amended by striking out Sections 12L through 12U, inclusive, as so appearing, and inserting in place thereof the following sections:

Section 12L. The Commonwealth shall not interfere with a person’s personal decision and ability to prevent, commence, terminate, or continue their own pregnancy consistent with this chapter. The Commonwealth shall not restrict the use of medically appropriate methods of abortion or the manner in which medically appropriate abortion is provided. 

Section 12M. A physician, acting within their lawful scope of practice, may perform an abortion when, according to the physician’s best medical judgment, the patient is within twenty-four weeks from the commencement of pregnancy, as defined in section 12K of this chapter. A physician, acting within their lawful scope of practice, may perform an abortion when, according to the physician’s best medical judgment based on the facts of the patient’s case, the patient is beyond twenty-four weeks from the commencement of pregnancy and the abortion is necessary to protect the patient’s life or physical or mental health, or in cases of lethal fetal anomalies, or where the fetus is incompatible with sustained life outside the uterus. Medical judgment may be exercised in the light of all factors — physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the person’s age — relevant to the well-being of the patient. 

The rest of the section deals with consent forms and Department of Public Health reports.

In other words:  Section M about 24 weeks and Section P about infants born alive would be gone from state law, and in their place nothing about trying to save the life of a baby born after an attempted abortion. There’s also nothing in the bill about even having life-supporting medical equipment in the room so a baby born alive could be saved.

In other words:  What Jim Lyons is saying is right.

The Massachusetts statute that currently protects infants born alive after an attempted abortion would be silent about it if the ROE Act bill is enacted. A born-alive abortion survivor could be allowed to die. And since the doctor in the room had just tried to kill the former-fetus-recently-born-alive, what are the chances that infant could get life-saving medical care if the law doesn’t require it?

And since all infants require care after birth in order to survive, what are we talking about if an infant doesn’t get any care?


Is this hard to follow? Seems simple enough.

So what is the response of the supporters of the ROE Act bill?

State Representative Jay Livingstone (D-Back Bay) called Lyons’s comment “outrageous,” demanded that Governor Baker condemn it, and added, according to The Boston Globe:  “It’s unfortunate that when there’s a discussion of medical procedures, that people will use misleading inflammatory rhetoric like that to try to get their way.”


Didn’t Jim Lyons just describe what the bill does?

We just described it. If you connect the dots, which isn’t hard, it’s plain as you please. Maybe Jay Livingstone should read his own bill.

Rebecca Hart Holder, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts, seems to have read the bill. She didn’t bother claiming it doesn’t say what Jim Lyons said it says. Instead, again in the Boston Globe, she claimed that babies aren’t born after attempted abortions. Here’s the Globe story on that:

But Rebecca Hart Holder, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts, said she’s not aware of any such cases of unsuccessful abortions.

“That’s not how medicine works,” she said. “What I can tell you is extreme antichoice politicians and organizations are pushing misinformation and lies.”

So she’s not aware of “unsuccessful abortions.”

Is she aware of Google?

A Google search for “people who survived an abortion” brought up cases here, here, and here.

This web site has five of them.

How many does it take before we care about them?

And when does Jim Lyons get his apology?