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Green-Lighting Infanticide in California

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April 13, 2022


The Democrat party of 2022 continues to push the bounds of its radical agenda, with particular focus on “abortion rights.” California Assembly Bill (A.B.) 2223 is the most egregious of the fourteen new abortion bills this year in California.  It is critical that A.B. 2223 not become law.

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A.B. 2223 offers protections to people involved in the death of the unborn, as well as of recently born babies, from “the threat of criminal prosecution of pregnancy outcomes.”  This bill, as written, would implicitly protect those involved in infanticide from criminal prosecution.

According to Section 7:

Notwithstanding any other law, a person shall not be subject to civil or criminal liability or penalty, or otherwise deprived of their rights, based on their actions or omissions with respect to their pregnancy or actual, potential, or alleged pregnancy outcome, including miscarriage, stillbirth, or abortion, or perinatal death due to a pregnancy-related cause.

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The key term here is “perinatal,” defined as “relating to the time, usually a number of weeks, immediately before and after birth” (New Oxford American Dictionary).  There are varying definitions as to the time period after birth to which “perinatal” refers, ranging from as little as “under 7 days” after birth (CDC) to “up to a year after giving birth” (National Health Service of the U.K.).  Although it cannot be stated definitively, “perinatal” would likely be considered by the courts to last through the first month of the infant’s life after birth, as per Article 4 of California’s Medi-Cal Benefits Program in 14134.5 (b).

The previous version of A.B. 2223 explicitly protected a woman who would end the life of her child from legal penalties even subsequent to the birth of the baby “based on [her] actions or omissions with respect to… perinatal death.”  In response to critical reporting in conservative media in late March that pointed out that this bill would legalize infanticide, the phrase “perinatal death” was qualified as being “due to a pregnancy-related cause.”  Unfortunately, this limitation is not well defined and might still be construed broadly to include death due to postnatal neglect or even murder following a failed abortion.

The fact that, from March 17 until April 6, A.B. 2223 explicitly protected those responsible for the deaths of young infants projects the true intention of the bill’s authors to offer legal immunity to those who murder young infants in California.  Similar bills in Colorado and in Maryland offer protections for many who commit infanticide.  The passage of such bills would encourage other liberal states to follow suit.

A.B. 2223 also explicitly bars evidence from being presented in court that could implicate the pregnant woman and others involved in ending the young infant’s life.  There is no question that someone who would actively murder a young infant or would withhold essential life-sustaining support would not have the slightest compunction about falsely claiming that the infant had died as a result of a failed abortion.

According to the Legislative Counsel’s Digest for Assembly Bill 2223:

This bill would delete the requirement that a coroner hold inquests for deaths related to or following known or suspected self-induced or criminal abortion[.] … The bill would prohibit using the coroner’s statements on the certificate of fetal death to establish, bring, or support a criminal prosecution or civil cause of damages against any person.

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The bill permits a coroner to avoid holding an inquest to determine the cause of death, and, more worryingly, prohibits the use in court of the coroner’s statements on the certificate of death.  This shields those guilty of infanticide and allows them to unscrupulously lie in court.

But it is doubtful that the perpetrators would even be brought to court.  Section 7 of this bill protects a person from “civil or criminal liability or penalty” for “actions or omissions with respect to… perinatal death due to a pregnancy-related cause.”  This means that all the person has to do to avoid being tried in court for infanticide is to claim that the infant died “due to a pregnancy-related cause.”

Even if there is no evidence of an attempted abortion that could serve as a basis for a “perinatal death due to a pregnancy-related cause,” that is of no consequence, because A.B. 2223 also bestows the right of “self-managed abortion,” which it defines as “ending one’s own pregnancy outside of the medical system.”  This includes any method a woman may use to end her pregnancy, no matter how dangerous it is and no matter how medically ill advised.

Section 8 of the bill reiterates that the pregnant woman can legally perform a “self-managed” abortion, noting: “The performance of an abortion is unauthorized if performed by someone other than the pregnant person[.]”  In addition, this bill shields anyone “who aids or assists” the “pregnant person” in performing the abortion.

Section 8 even allows for the pregnant woman to kill the fetus if he is viable.  For instance, even if a woman were seconds away from giving birth, she would be legally permitted to perform a “self-managed abortion” in any way she wishes.  In contrast, if someone else who is legally authorized to perform an abortion were to perform the abortion, A.B. 2223 states that it would be illegal if the fetus were “viable.”

The definition of “viability” as per Section 123464 of the California Health and Safety Code is “the point in a pregnancy when … there is a reasonable likelihood of the fetus’ sustained survival outside the uterus without the application of extraordinary medical measures.”  This language allows a court to define how late in pregnancy a fetus would be considered “viable.”

Not only would A.B. 2223 shield those responsible from infanticide from criminal and civil liability, but it would even reward the party guilty of abortion or infanticide if anyone seeks to stop her attempts at “self-managed abortion,” take her to court, or even threaten to take her to court.

According to Section 9 of the bill: “Whoever denies a right protected by this article, or aids, incites, or conspires in that denial, is liable for each and every offense for the actual damages suffered by any person denied that right.”  This means that those who seek to end life are rewarded, and those who seek to save life are punished.

And whereas those who commit an abortion, including a “self-managed abortion,” or even infanticide, would find themselves shielded from legal prosecution and would even be rewarded, this bill would render many of those seeking to stop these acts legally liable for 1) an amount determined by a jury or a court, 2) a civil penalty of $25,000, 3) an injunction or restraining order against those “responsible for the conduct,” and 4) upon a motion: attorney’s fees and costs.

Assembly Bill 2223 is yet another example of how radical Democratic politicians have become in their quest to increase the numbers of abortions and even protect many of those guilty of the heinous crime of infanticide.  It is essential that today’s radical Democrat party, which supports stripping the right to life from some of the most defenseless in society, be instead stripped of its power.

Image: Nogwater via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0 (cropped).

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