Sen. Ford votes for override of abortion bill veto; Warren, Pittman prepared to do same
SALISBURY — With all 50 N.C. senators present Tuesday, supporters of the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act scraped together a veto override, giving the N.C. House a second chance to put the bill into law.
Sen. Carl Ford, R-33, said he knew it was going to be a tight vote, but all 50 senators were there, meaning supporters needed only one Democrat to vote for the veto override. When Senate Bill 359 was passed in the Senate in mid-April, it had the support of two Democrats, Sens. Ben Clark, D-21, and Don Davis, D-5. Tuesday, Clark sided with Gov. Roy Cooper to sustain the veto, but Davis stuck to his original stance and voted for the override.
The override squeaked by on a 30-20 vote, enough for the three-fifths vote needed for an override.
Ford said Davis has taken some heat from his party, but he seemed to have convictions and was not willing to change them, whether morally or on budget items.
Ford said he was pleasantly surprised, and that the law is needed to “keep the babies alive.”
“I knew we were going to do it, Ford said. “I knew we had to do it.”
Ford was a sponsor of the bill.
The bill now goes to the House for an override vote. The General Assembly website has calendared the bill for Thursday in the House, but Rep. Harry Warren, R-76, said a vote would be unlikely.
“We’re going to have to wait until an opportune time,” Warren said.
He said that may be in the next week or in two months, whenever supporters have the votes. But he is confident an override will eventually be passed.
Rep. Larry Pittman, R-83, said it is not guaranteed supporters will have the votes, but it is possible. Pittman was a sponsor of an identical born-alive bill, House Bill 602.
Four House Democrats initially voted for House Bill 359. The House would need their continued support and more.
Warren said leaders will have to find Democrats who are willing to break from the governor.
Rowan County legislators say the law is needed.
“If an attempted abortion fails and the child is born alive in spite of the effort to murder him or her, that child has the right to life and should be given proper medical attention to help him or her survive,” Pittman said. “Even many people who support abortion have enough common decency to realize that.”
Warren said the bill establishes that a baby who survives an abortion is as worthy as any other person.
Pittman said the law would provide consequences for medical professionals who fail to comply.
“If it does not pass, we will have moved a step closer to hell, like New York has done,” Pittman continued. “More children will die who should not have died.”
In January, New York lawmakers passed legislation to protect abortion rights if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.
Explaining his veto, Cooper said “laws already protect newborn babies and the bill is an unnecessary interference between doctors and their patients.”
According to bill summary compiled by General Assembly staff, the bill would create two Class D felonies for violation of a health care practitioner’s duty to provide care to a child born alive despite an abortion and for violation of the requirement to report a health care practitioner’s failure to provide care to a child despite an abortion.
It currently is a Class D felony to unlawfully cause the death of an unborn child. It is also considered murder, under current law, if a child is born alive but dies from injuries received prior to being born.
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