North Carolina’s Republican-controlled legislature failed to override a veto by Democratic Governor Roy Cooper that defeated a bill aimed at protecting the lives of babies born during an abortion.
While the North Carolina Senate was able to garner the two-thirds majority necessary to override the veto against State Senate Bill 359, the House failed to get the necessary majority, with a 67-53 vote.
In a statement posted to Twitter on Wednesday, Governor Cooper said that he agreed with the legislature upholding his veto, labeling the vetoed bill “unnecessary.”
“It’s important to protect the lives of all children, and laws already exist to protect newborn babies,” tweeted Cooper.
“Instead of passing unnecessary legislation for political purposes we need to move on from divisive social issues and focus on the needs of North Carolina families: education, health care and good-paying jobs.”
Also called the “Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act,” SB 359 mandated that babies that survived an abortion were given quality health care, including being transferred to the nearest hospital.
“… any health care practitioner present at the time the child is born alive shall … Exercise the same degree of professional skill, care, and diligence to preserve the life and health of the child as a reasonably diligent and conscientious health care practitioner would render to any other child born alive at the same gestational age,” read the bill in part.
“Any person who intentionally performs or attempts to perform an overt act that kills a child born alive shall be punished as under G.S. 14-17(c) for murder.”
In April, Cooper vetoed the legislation, saying in a letter at the time that there were already laws that “protect newborn babies,” claiming that the bill “would criminalize doctors and other healthcare providers for a practice that simply does not exist.”
North Carolina’s vetoed bill came partly in response to comments made by Virginia Governor Ralph Northam where the Democrat elected official appeared to endorse infanticide.
In an interview with WTOP in January, Gov. Northam defended a pro-choice bill that would have expanded abortion access in the Commonwealth.
“In cases where there may be severe deformities, where there may be a fetus that’s not viable, so in this particular example, if a mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen,” said Northam at the time.
“The infant would be delivered, the infant would be kept comfortable. It would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired and then a discussion would ensue between the physician and the mother. So I think this was really blown out of proportion.”