By Gualberto Garcia Jones, Esq.,— The Wisconsin Assembly and Senate currently have two anti-infanticide bills that exempt the mother from prosecution if she kills her child born alive after a failed abortion attempt. On April 17, 2019, the Personhood Alliance submitted a legal memo to the Wisconsin State Legislature on behalf of its affiliate, Pro-Life Wisconsin, outlining the problems with this exemption.
Last week before the Assembly Health and Senate Judiciary committees, Pro-Life Wisconsin’s legislative director Matt Sande testified in opposition to Assembly Bill 179 and Senate Bill 175 as written, in the hope of amending out the dangerous immunity clause in Section 2 of the legislation.
Please listen to Matt’s testimony on WisconsinEye here, starting at 4:04:12.
Section 2 of both bills creates a new section under Wisconsin’s first-degree intentional homicide statute that specifically makes intentionally causing the death of a child born alive as a result of an abortion a Class A felony with a penalty of life imprisonment. Pro-Life Wisconsin certainly supports this just penalty.
The problem with Section 2 is that it applies to anyone but the mother. It completely exempts from prosecution the mother of a child born alive after an abortion if she kills or conspires to kill her born-alive child. This has grave implications for holding accountable mothers who, following failed self-induced abortion attempts, kill their own born-alive infants (known as maternal filicide). Section 2 erodes the personhood and equal protection that babies born alive following failed abortions enjoy under current law. Wisconsin’s Born Alive Infant Protection Act should complement the equal protection of the law, not undermine it.
Though Pro-life Wisconsin acknowledges that a district attorney could use the current-law homicide statute to prosecute a mother who kills her born-alive infant following a failed abortion, it is equally true that a zealous criminal defense attorney could use the newly created immunity clause in Section 2 to fully exculpate her. Amending out the immunity clause in Section 2 precludes this dangerous possibility.
Believing that the blanket immunity clause in Section 2 sets a bad precedent, Senator Jacque and Representative Wichgers voted against the Born Alive Protection Act in their respective committees. Click here to read Senator Jacque’s press statement explaining his “NO” vote on SB 175. Both legislators have introduced identical amendments to remove the immunity clause in Section 2 of the legislation. Senator Jacque is the author of Senate Amendment 1 to SB 175 and Representative Wichgers is the author of Assembly Amendment 1 to AB 179. Regrettably, Assembly Amendment 1 failed in the Assembly Health Committee.
As the Assembly prepares to debate and pass the Born Alive Infant Protection Act this week, the Personhood Alliance encourages them to consider the merits of Assembly Amendment 1. We must be clear that Wisconsin makes NO exceptions for the murder of born-alive infants.
Visit Pro-Life Wisconsin for more details on this bill and for a 100% pro-life approach to ending the evil of abortion in Wisconsin.
Gualberto Garcia Jones, Esq., is the president of the Personhood Alliance and a licensed attorney in the commonwealth of Virginia. He is a human rights advisor to the Holy See Mission to the Organization of American States and works in Washington DC to stop the expansion of abortion in Latin America.