Arizona Senate passes bill to require 'medically appropriate and reasonable care' for infants that survive abortion

February 23, 2023

In the wake of the Supreme Court's Dobbs decision in 2022, many Republican-led states have passed new or strengthened already existing pro-life laws and placed certain limitations and requirements on abortion procedures, if not banned altogether.

In Arizona, the Republican-led state Senate just passed a bill that would outlaw "infanticide" and mandate that all "medically appropriate and reasonable" care be provided to an infant that survives an attempted abortion, Life News reported.

The measure was passed along party lines with all Democrats voting against it, but if ultimately signed into law, Arizona would join 35 other states in requiring such protections for aborted babies that are born alive.

Life-saving care required

The bill in question is known as SB 1600 and it amends and strengthens existing statutes on abortion reporting requirements and the responsibility to provide appropriate medical care to a born-alive infant following such life-ending procedures.

Infants born alive after an attempted abortion are to be considered a "legal person" endowed with the same rights as all others to "medically appropriate and reasonable care and treatment," and any health professionals present are required to provide and prohibited from withholding such care to "preserve the life and health" of said infants -- though parents are allowed to decline any further care beyond that.

Failure to comply with that requirement could result in "penalties and sanctions" against an abortion clinic or hospital, and any health professional who "intentionally or knowingly" violates the law could have their license or certification suspended or revoked, face Class 6 felony criminal charges, and be liable to civil suits.

"Every baby that is born alive deserves a chance to live"

SB 1600 was introduced and sponsored by Republican state Sen. Janae Shamp, and she delivered a brief speech Tuesday on the Arizona Senate floor in support of the measure.

"This isn't about emotion. This isn't about reproductive health. This is about life," Shamp said. "Every baby that is born alive deserves a chance to live."

The senator proceeded to discuss a practice known as a "slow code," in which health professionals deliberately withhold the necessary care to save the life of an infant that is expected to die soon, which she denounced as "death by neglect."

"Parents are the ones who should choose to opt out of further care beyond what is medically appropriate and reasonable," Shamp said.

"The least we can do as a civil society"

The conservative Center for Arizona Policy advocacy group announced its support for SB 1600, and the group's president, Cathi Herrod, cheered its passage in the Senate in a statement to Life News.

"Every baby deserves a chance at life. SB 1600 ensures all babies receive the care needed to give them that chance by prohibiting infanticide," Herrod said. "An infant’s value is not based on his or her life expectancy, and health professionals should not be picking winners and losers."

"The Senate’s passage of SB 1600 along party lines tells you everything you need to know about which lawmakers refuse to draw the line before infanticide," she added. "The bill ends the inhumane practice known as 'slow code,' in which healthcare professionals withhold medical care to babies not expected to live long in order to hasten their death. SB 1600 is the least we can do as a civil society to protect the most vulnerable among us from unnecessary and inhumane death."

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