North Carolina’s House of Representatives failed on Wednesday to overturn a veto of a bill that would have required doctors to try to preserve the life of any infant born alive during an attempted abortion. The override effort fell short of the required three-fifths majority by only five votes.
The bill, titled the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, passed both the North Carolina House and Senate earlier in April. That same week, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper refused to support the bill and issued a veto.
Specifically, the proposed bill attempted to criminalize a physician’s failure to act and preserve life during an abortion. Infants were to be protected at any stage of development if breathing, heartbeat or definite voluntary muscle movements. Health care practitioners who failed to protect an infant born alive would be guilty of a class D felony, while mothers would be barred from prosecution.
Cooper explained his decision the veto in a public letter, noting the bill addressed a practice that no longer exists and would be “an unnecessary interference between doctors and their parents.” North Carolina requires a three-fifths majority in both houses of the General Assembly to override a governor’s veto.
In a press release, House Speaker Tim Moore stated that the failed override effort was the “final vote” on the matter.