CA Bill Allowing Killing of 1-Month-Old Newborn Babies Passes State Senate: AB 2223

The bill now moves to the appropriations committee, then to the assembly floor for a vote.

QUICK FACTS:
  • California bill AB 2223 passed the Assembly Health Committee in an 11-3 vote late Tuesday night, The Mercury News reports.
  • The bill removes criminal liability from mothers in relation to “all pregnancy outcomes” including the death of a newborn for any reason during the period following birth, according to the official Senate analysis of the legislation prepared by State Senate Legislative Director Alison Merrilees.
  • The bill “could be interpreted to immunize a pregnant person from all criminal penalties for all pregnancy outcomes,” the analysis reads, “including the death of a newborn for any reason during the ‘perinatal’ period after birth.”
  • The analysis goes on to define the “perinatal” period as either “generally used to describe the period from approximately past 22 (or 28) completed weeks of pregnancy up to 7 completed days of life,” or, “the period from the establishment of pregnancy to one month following delivery.”
  • Supporters of AB 2223 say the legislation—which now moves forward to the appropriations committee and then the assembly floor for a vote—would prevent women from being held civilly or criminally liable for certain pregnancy outcomes.
  • These supporters point to the case of two Kings County women who were charged with murder and imprisoned after delivering stillbirths and testing positive for methamphetamine.
  • “Fear of jail or fear of having their child removed leads people to physically avoid and emotionally disengage from prenatal care,” said Sarah Roberts, a researcher at the University of California, San Francisco, testifying Tuesday in favor of the bill.
WHAT OPPONENTS OF AB 2223 SAY:
  • The Right to Life League contends that one section of AB 2223, which exempts mothers from civil and criminal liability if an infant dies during the perinatal period “due to a pregnancy-related cause,” essentially legalizes the killing of newborn babies.
  • The bill “is intentional, strategic legislation designed to extend abortion rights past birth, to create a protected “fourth trimester” right to infanticide,” The Right to Life website reads.
  • “A mother, her boyfriend or, for that matter, the babysitter, can starve or beat or shake a 3-week-old baby to death and no one can investigate because under AB 2223 it is a ‘perinatal death,'” writes vice president of legal affairs Susan Arnall on the Right to Life League website.
BACKGROUND:
  • “This is a hill for moral people to die on,” said Jack Hibbs, pastor of Calvary Chapel Chino Hills, testifying against the bill on Tuesday, Mercury News notes. “As citizens, we must hold you accountable.”
  • American Faith yesterday reported on a video of Dr. Vansen Huang, described as a “practicing OBGYN of 30+ years,” testifying before the California Senate Assembly that a “close inspection of this bill does allow for the legalization of killing of innocent newborn children up to the age of 28 days.”
  • A ‘yes’ vote on AB 2223 is “an unequivocal and complete approval of a legalized killing of a newborn baby,” Huang stated. “With all of my heart, I oppose AB 2223 and urge you to vote ‘no.'”