WASHINGTON (ChurchMilitant.com) - A West-Coast professor is urging Congress to allow babies born alive from botched abortions to die without medical care.
Dr. Diana Greene Foster, research director at the University of California San Francisco, testified before a Senate judiciary committee hearing March 15 titled "Late-Term Abortion: Protecting Babies Born Alive and Capable of Feeling Pain."
In response to questioning from Sen. David Vitter (R-La), who asked, "Just to be clear: Nobody disagrees that a child born alive should get all available medical care for survival?" Foster replied, "I do disagree."
She continued, "I can imagine situations where the doctors and nurses have decided that there's not a point in medical intervention."
Asked to clarify whether she believes babies should receive medical treatment if it could lead to their survival, Foster evaded the question. "I think that doctors and nurses and women themselves know best whether care would lead to survival."
Jodi Magee, President and CEO of Physicians for Reproductive Health, wanted to leave the decision in the hands of doctors to determine on a case-by-case basis rather than via legal mandate. "We should leave it to doctors to make those decisions and we should be leaving it to women to make the choices about their own pregnancies."
"The worst complication for an abortionist is to have the baby born alive," she explained, "and I do not feel that the abortionist has the best interests of that child at stake, and the mother may not either."
"The bill is not saying that you must give that baby extraordinary care," she went on. "They're just saying you have to give them the same care you would give any other baby at that gestation. And at that gestational age, they do need to be where they can get the best help, and the mother can go with them."
The panel of experts at the Senate hearing were discussing two bills: the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, sponsored by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), which would prohibit abortions beyond the 20th week of pregnancy; and the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, sponsored by Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), which would mandate doctors to give medical care to a baby born alive after a botched abortion.
Christy Zink, a mother who ended the life of her unborn child at 21 weeks' gestation and who opposes the bills, said the question of infant survival is "complicated." Speaking of her own aborted child, she said, "If he had been born, he would've been born into a life of seizure, of pain, of suffering ... . This question of survival gets very complicated."
A neonatologist on the panel, however, disagreed that such diagnoses should be left up to abortionists. Dr. Colleen Malloy, assistant professor at Northwestern University, said, "There are plenty of children who have seizure disorders who do not live a life of pain and suffering, and the medical providers performing the abortions are not the right ones to assess the outcome and quality of that child that is then born alive."
"So that baby should definitely be taken to a medical facility," she insisted, "where pediatric and neonatologists can look at the child and take things from there."
The Senate is reviving the debate over late-term abortions after Gov. Dennis Daugaard of South Dakota recently signed into law a 20-week abortion ban, making South Dakota the 13th state since 2010 to pass such legislation.