A legislative committee in Colorado headed by Democrats voted down two bills this week that would have prohibited late-term abortions and punished doctors for neglecting to care for babies born alive following an abortion procedure.
According to The Christian Post, the bills, which were sponsored by Republicans, were rejected after seven hours of testimony along party lines.
One of the bills, introduced by Republican Rep. Shan Sandridge of Colorado Springs, would have created a doctor-patient relationship with the abortion doctor and a child born alive after an abortion. It would require a doctor to “exercise the same degree of professional skill, care and diligence to preserve the life and health of the child.” Any doctor who ignored this care would be subject to a class 3 felony and a civil penalty up to $100,000.
The second bill would have punished doctors who performed abortions after 22 weeks of pregnancy to a class 1 misdemeanor charge.
Democrats feared that the bills would create a precedent for limiting abortion rights in the future.
“I do believe the effect of this bill to create a new felony for this kind of action would have the effect of limiting access to abortion in this state,” said Committee Democrat Chair Chris Kennedy. “I think that is a legitimate concern and a real problem.”
Meanwhile, Republicans argued that the “Kill” Committee didn’t give the bills a fair chance.
“Both of these bills had support from Coloradans across all political spectrums and neither received a fair hearing in the ‘Kill’ Committee,” the CO House Republicans tweeted.
“You can always count on Democrats to say they’ll protect the little guy, except when the little guy weighs 6 pounds and is 19.5 [inches] long. [T]hen the little guy needs to fear for his life,” the CO House Republicans Tweeted later.
Director of the Centennial Institute think tank at Colorado Christian University and chairman of the Western Conservative Summit, Jeff Hunt, voiced his concern, as well.
“The Colorado legislature just voted down a bill that would require a doctor to provide medical care to a child who is born alive after surviving an abortion,” he said. “A child is born, in need of help, and the Colorado legislature voted against mandating care. God have mercy.”
The vote comes only a few days after the Senate Judiciary Committee debated the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, as previously reported by Christian Headlines. Though it would not punish doctors, it would require medical professionals to give babies who survive a fighting chance. To refuse, the act states, would be infanticide.
“This hearing is not about overturning Roe v. Wade. In fact, this hearing is not actually about limiting access to abortion at all,” said Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) who sponsored the act. “This hearing isn’t a debate about third-trimester, or second-trimester, or first-trimester abortion. This hearing is about making sure that every newborn baby has a fighting chance—whether she’s born in a labor and delivery ward or whether she’s born in an abortion clinic.”
Democrats have argued that the bill is unnecessary since infanticide is already a punishable crime.