After the federal Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act failed after a filibuster from 41 Democratic senators, states have begun to enact their own laws to protect infants from botched abortions. The Wyoming Legislature recently passed a protection bill for abortion survivors known as File 97. Not only does the bill provide protection for any child that is not killed by the procedure, but doctors who do not provide an abortion survivor with medical care could also face up to 14 years in prison, as well as a felony charge.
The Wyoming chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union questioned the necessity of the bill, as infanticide is already considered a crime. However, the bill legally considers the infanticide of an abortion survivor to be a “lack of medical care.”
Rep. Eric Barlow attempted to change the bill by suggesting a reduced punishment for providers who do not comply with the law, suggesting 1 year in prison and a $1,000 fine instead of 14 years in prison. But the penalties of the original bill were defended by Rep. Scott Clem who said, “If you have a baby that is born alive that is viable, that should be charged with a felony, because you actually tried to abort a viable baby. We’re talking about a botched abortion, a baby that is born alive, and we’re not going to give it any treatment, and the worst that doctor is going to get is (a) $1,000 (fine).”
Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon has previously signed pro-life legislation into law, and the bill currently awaits his signature.