Bush administration announces plan to enforce fetus law

Bush administration announces plan to enforce fetus law

[JURIST] US Department of Health and Human Services head Mike Leavitt announced Friday that the agency will actively enforce the little-used Born-Alive Infant Protection Act [PDF]. President Bush signed [text of remarks] the bill into law in 2002 requiring health care providers to provide adequate care to fetuses born alive during the course of an abortion. To the general definition of a human being the statute adds a born-alive infant, any fetus born with a heartbeat, or definite movement of voluntary muscles, regardless of whether extraction occurs as a result of natural or induced labor, cesarean section, or induced abortion. Under this definition, a fetus that survives an abortion procedure is no longer a fetus, but a person entitled to emergency medical care. Leavitt did not comment on complaints about lack of enforcement, but did say that the department will aggressively investigate all reports of individuals withholding medical care from an infant born alive. AP has more.