Born-Alive Infants Protection Act


Background: The Born-Alive Infants Protection Act of 2000 (H.R. 4292) was introduced on April 13, 2000, by Rep. Charles Canady (R-FL). The bill had 44 cosponsors. This act defined the words “person,” “human being,” “child,” and “individual” to include “every infant member of the species homo sapiens who is born alive at any stage of development.” The term “born alive” is defined as “the complete expulsion or extraction” at any stage of development of the infant member who “breaths or has a beating heart, pulsation of the umbilical cord, or definite movement of voluntary muscles, regardless of whether the umbilical cord has been cut, and regardless of whether the expulsion or extraction occurs as a result of natural or induced labor, cesarean section, or induced abortion.” In his remarks on the bill, Rep. Canady said that this legislation ensures that all infants who are born alive are treated as persons for purposes of federal law. However, abortion advocates claimed the bill is “in direct conflict with Roe,“ which “clearly states that women have the right to choose” (that is, the right to choose infanticide as well as abortion) before the child is proved to be viable.

House: On July 20, 2000, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution held a hearing on H.R. 4292. Professor Hadley Arkes, a strong supporter of this legislation, was one of the witnesses.  On July 26, 2000, the full Judiciary Committee approved the bill, 22-yes, 1-no. On September 26, 2000, under suspension of the rules (a two-thirds vote required), the House passed H.R. 4292 by the overwhelming vote, 380-yes, 15-no, 3-present, 36-not voting. (Roll Call 495) Even when voting in favor, some abortion advocates expressed aversion to the bill.

Senate: On Oct. 5, 2000, the House-passed bill was read the first time and placed on the Senate Calendar. On Oct. 13, 2000, Majority Leader Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS) asked unanimous consent that the Senate proceed to the bill and pass it. Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND) objected, saying, “There are Members on our side who would like to offer amendments.” No further action was taken.

End-of-Year Summary: The measure passed the House but was not debated in the Senate. It did not become law.