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H.R. 962 (116th): Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act

The text of the bill below is as of Feb 5, 2019 (Introduced). The bill was not enacted into law.

Summary of this bill

Almost every Senate Republican has cosponsored this pro-life bill.


The pro-life movement’s most recent concern has become Democrats’ supposed willingness to kill fetuses which survive abortion attempts, sparked by comments made by Virginia’s governor.

Gov. Northam said during a radio interview that under a proposed Democratic-led bill, an infant who survived an abortion attempt “would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired.”

Some took that to mean that if it’s not what the family desired, the fetus would be killed or left to die by a doctor — even though that’s not what the governor said, and after an outcry the governor’s office quickly clarified …



1st Session

H. R. 962


February 5, 2019

(for herself, Mr. Babin, Mr. Bacon, Mr. Banks, Mr. Bost, Mr. Collins of New York, Mr. Collins of Georgia, Mr. Davidson of Ohio, Mr. Duncan, Mr. Emmer, Mr. Gibbs, Mr. Gosar, Mr. Huizenga, Mr. Johnson of Ohio, Mr. Kelly of Pennsylvania, Mr. Lamborn, Mr. Mooney of West Virginia, Mr. Mullin, Mr. Norman, Mr. David P. Roe of Tennessee, Mr. Stewart, Mr. Walker, Mrs. Walorski, Mr. Weber of Texas, Mr. Wittman, Mr. Latta, Mr. Allen, Mr. Green of Tennessee, Mr. Gianforte, Mr. Roy, Mr. Barr, Mr. Walberg, Ms. Cheney, Mr. Johnson of Louisiana, Mr. Joyce of Pennsylvania, Mr. Chabot, Ms. Foxx of North Carolina, Mr. Abraham, Mr. Marshall, Mr. Stauber, Mr. Ferguson, Mr. Smucker, Mr. Hice of Georgia, Mr. Harris, Mr. Scalise, Mr. McCarthy, Mr. Jordan, Mr. Ratcliffe, and Mr. Timmons) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary


To amend title 18, United States Code, to prohibit a health care practitioner from failing to exercise the proper degree of care in the case of a child who survives an abortion or attempted abortion.


Short title

This Act may be cited as the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act.


Findings; constitutional authority



Congress finds as follows:


If an abortion results in the live birth of an infant, the infant is a legal person for all purposes under the laws of the United States, and entitled to all the protections of such laws.


Any infant born alive after an abortion or within a hospital, clinic, or other facility has the same claim to the protection of the law that would arise for any newborn, or for any person who comes to a hospital, clinic, or other facility for screening and treatment or otherwise becomes a patient within its care.


Constitutional authority

In accordance with the above findings, Congress enacts the following pursuant to Congress’ power under—


section 5 of the 14th Amendment, including the power to enforce the prohibition on government action denying equal protection of the laws; and


section 8 of article I to make all laws necessary and proper for carrying into execution the powers vested by the Constitution of the United States, including the power to regulate commerce under clause 3 of such section.


Born-alive infants protection


Requirements pertaining to born-Alive abortion survivors

Chapter 74 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by inserting after section 1531 the following:


Requirements pertaining to born-alive abortion survivors


Requirements for health care practitioners

In the case of an abortion or attempted abortion that results in a child born alive (as defined in section 8 of title 1, United States Code (commonly known as the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act)):


Degree of care required; immediate admission to a hospital

Any health care practitioner present at the time the child is born alive shall—


exercise the same degree of professional skill, care, and diligence to preserve the life and health of the child as a reasonably diligent and conscientious health care practitioner would render to any other child born alive at the same gestational age; and


following the exercise of skill, care, and diligence required under subparagraph (A), ensure that the child born alive is immediately transported and admitted to a hospital.


Mandatory reporting of violations

A health care practitioner or any employee of a hospital, a physician’s office, or an abortion clinic who has knowledge of a failure to comply with the requirements of paragraph (1) shall immediately report the failure to an appropriate State or Federal law enforcement agency, or to both.




In general

Whoever violates subsection (a) shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for not more than 5 years, or both.


Intentional killing of child born alive

Whoever intentionally performs or attempts to perform an overt act that kills a child born alive described under subsection (a), shall be punished as under section 1111 of this title for intentionally killing or attempting to kill a human being.


Bar to prosecution

The mother of a child born alive described under subsection (a) may not be prosecuted under this section, for conspiracy to violate this section, or for an offense under section 3 or 4 of this title based on such a violation.


Civil remedies


Civil action by a woman on whom an abortion is performed

If a child is born alive and there is a violation of subsection (a), the woman upon whom the abortion was performed or attempted may, in a civil action against any person who committed the violation, obtain appropriate relief.


Appropriate relief

Appropriate relief in a civil action under this subsection includes—


objectively verifiable money damage for all injuries, psychological and physical, occasioned by the violation of subsection (a);


statutory damages equal to 3 times the cost of the abortion or attempted abortion; and


punitive damages.


Attorney’s fee for plaintiff

The court shall award a reasonable attorney’s fee to a prevailing plaintiff in a civil action under this subsection.


Attorney’s fee for defendant

If a defendant in a civil action under this subsection prevails and the court finds that the plaintiff’s suit was frivolous, the court shall award a reasonable attorney’s fee in favor of the defendant against the plaintiff.



In this section the following definitions apply:



The term abortion means the use or prescription of any instrument, medicine, drug, or any other substance or device—


to intentionally kill the unborn child of a woman known to be pregnant; or


to intentionally terminate the pregnancy of a woman known to be pregnant, with an intention other than—


after viability, to produce a live birth and preserve the life and health of the child born alive; or


to remove a dead unborn child.



The term attempt, with respect to an abortion, means conduct that, under the circumstances as the actor believes them to be, constitutes a substantial step in a course of conduct planned to culminate in performing an abortion.



Clerical amendment

The table of sections for chapter 74 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by inserting after the item pertaining to section 1531 the following:

1532. Requirements pertaining to born-alive abortion survivors.



Chapter heading amendments


Chapter heading in chapter

The chapter heading for chapter 74 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by striking Partial-Birth Abortions and inserting Abortions.


Table of chapters for part I

The item relating to chapter 74 in the table of chapters at the beginning of part I of title 18, United States Code, is amended by striking Partial-Birth Abortions and inserting Abortions.