The California State Assembly on Thursday passed what pro-life advocates have called a radical measure that they've dubbed "The Infanticide Bill."
The bill, known as AB 2223, was passed by a vote of 48-21 in the Democrat-controlled Assembly. It now goes to the state Senate.
The measure is promoted by the state's "Future of Abortion Council," a coalition of 40 pro-abortion groups whose goal is "to Protect, Strengthen, and Expand Abortion Services in California." The abortion council is currently advocating for nine different abortion expansion bills.
As CBN News reported, AB 2223 was opposed by pro-life groups who say new language added to the proposed legislation would shield a mother from civil and criminal charges for any "actions or omissions" related to her pregnancy, "including miscarriage, stillbirth, or abortion, or perinatal death." Although definitions of "perinatal death" vary, all of them include the death of newborns seven days or more after birth.
Certain media fact-checkers over the past few months said the pro-life advocates' claims were false or misinterpreted. However, the National Catholic Register noted that the state's Assembly Appropriations Committee acceded to some pro-life demands and amended language in the bill on May 19.
"Today, Assemblymember Buffy Wicks' A.B. 2223, which came to be known as the 'infanticide bill,' was amended in the Assembly Appropriations Committee to confirm that a woman will not be investigated or charged for experiencing miscarriage, stillbirth, abortion, or 'perinatal death due to causes that occurred in utero,'" the California Catholic Conference reported in a statement released last week.
"This change definitely closes the door on potential unintended consequences of permitting infant deaths due to abuse, neglect, or abandonment, alleviating the concerns that the CCC brought to the author's attention," the statement said.
Kathleen Domingo, the executive director of the California Catholic Conference told the Register that the Assembly Judiciary Committee's analysis of the bill, dated April 5, "agreed that the terminology 'perinatal death' was unclear and could lead to 'undesirable conclusions.'"
The language was modified, and the California Catholic Conference announced it had withdrawn its opposition to the bill, noting state law already outlaws fetal homicide with protections for infants born alive after an abortion.
Other pro-life groups, however, continue to fight against the bill.
The league especially noted the bill's amended language.
"AB 2223's amended language – "perinatal death due to causes that occurred in utero" – does nothing to change the bill's protections for anyone who kills a baby born alive during the first 28 days of life," the letter read. "It justifies and excuses the intent to kill a baby born alive by pointing to vague, blanket occurrences that happened at some undefined time prior to the baby's birth."
"AB 2223 operates to cover up the cause of a baby's death," the letter continues. "It provides abortionists and abusers legal cover to finish the job of killing an unwanted or inconvenient newborn by asserting the Cause In Utero Excuse up to 28 days after birth. The baby can be killed and any evidence explaining her death will die with her. And that seems to be the point of AB 2223's newest perinatal death clause – to excuse and make investigation of a newborn's death wholly unnecessary and even actionable.
"AB 2223's flawed language creates a protected right to infanticide in violation of state and federal laws. We once again respectfully request you to reject AB 2223," the letter concluded.
The group Save California also opposes AB 2223 and it sees the measure as being about one thing – legalized murder.
"AB 2223 robs already-born babies of their constitutional guarantee of equal protection of the laws," the group argued in a recent email.
"Since this isn't about abortion, but infanticide – which is murder – we can foresee a federal constitutional lawsuit demanding the Fourteenth Amendment's guarantee that "nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws," the group said.