Gov. Tony Evers (D., Wisc.) will veto a bill which would punish doctors with up to life in prison if they failed to provide medical care to babies born alive after a failed abortion attempt.
Evers referenced existing protections in state law when he explained why he will veto the bill, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.
"I think those protections already exist," Evers said on Monday. "We have all sorts of issues to deal with in the state of Wisconsin and to pass a bill that is redundant seems to be not a productive use of time. And clearly I ran on the belief — and I still believe — that women should be able to make choices about their health care. But this deals with a specific issue that's already been resolved."
Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke, a Republican, explained the rationale for the bill.
"We wanted to reaffirm the fact that babies that survive abortions have the right to anything any other living, breathing individual in the state does," Steineke said. "And doctors have the responsibility to care for that child as they would for any other person who was living and breathing."
Another Republican, Senate President Roger Roth, the bill's co-author, said the governor's decision to veto the bill shows "he has gone farther to the extreme than I imagined."
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"My bill simply removes any ambiguity that a health care provider must care for the life and health of a baby. How could anyone be against that?" Roth said.
The bill requires health care providers "to exercise the same degree of professional skill, care, and diligence to preserve the life and health of the child [born during a failed abortion attempt] as a reasonably diligent and conscientious health care provider would render to any other child born alive."
Failure to provide care could result in a doctor or nurse facing felony charges and up to $10,000 in fines. They could face life in prison if they were found to have "intentionally" caused the death of the child born alive during the failed abortion.
Last week, the Democratic governor of North Carolina vetoed legislation that would require doctors to provide care to babies who survive abortion.
In February, Senate Democrats blocked the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, which would have required doctors to provide medical care to babies who are born alive during an abortion.
Virginia Democratic governor Ralph Northam suggested in January that babies born after a failed abortion would not be guaranteed care while commenting on a controversial bill in the state legislature which would have allowed abortion up to 40 weeks.
"If a mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen. The infant would be delivered. The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that's what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother," Northam said.