Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon (R) on Thursday signed a bill that changes preexisting law and requires health care providers treat “any viable infant aborted alive” with the same “care that would be rendered to any other infant born alive.”
As Oil City News reports, the bill, known as “Born alive infant-means of care,” changes previous legislation by adding the language "any viable infant."
The new bill also states, "Any physician performing an abortion shall take medically appropriate and reasonable steps to preserve the life and health of an infant born alive.”
According to Oil City News, in Wyoming viability is defined as “that stage of human development when the embryo or fetus is able to live by natural or life-supportive systems outside the womb of the mother according to appropriate medical judgment.”
“It is my hope that we can all agree that once a child is born alive, all rights apply equally under the law,” GOP state Sen. Cheri Steinmetz, the bill's primary sponsor, said. “We have seen evidence this last year in Wyoming that we will go to extreme measures to save just one human life. This has been exemplified in measures taken to fight COVID-19.”
However, the outlet notes that Democratic Senate Minority Floor Leader Chris Rothfuss questioned whether the bill was redundant.
“I see it as a bill that either does nothing or potentially does something bad with regard to the viability aspect,” Rothfuss said. “Either it does nothing or does something that would perpetuate a circumstance that would be painful to the family."
“We’re getting to the point where our doctors can do extraordinary things, but sometimes those extraordinary things lead to more pain,” Rothfuss added, questioning whether the bill would require doctors who perform abortions to keep infants alive even if they would only live with the support of medical machines.
As The New York Times previously reported, infants are almost never born alive after attempted abortions. Healthy fetuses become viable at around 24 weeks, and less than 1 percent of abortions in the U.S. are performed later than that, with most abortions performed at that point due to a fatal condition the fetus has or a severe risk posed to the pregnant woman.