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Arizona Bill Would Require Doctors Take Measures To Save An Aborted Fetus With Signs Of Life

Arizona Republican lawmakers want doctors who perform elective or emergency abortions to revive any fetus that shows a sign of life.

Supporters said the bill is designed to protect the fetus with full human rights if there is a chance medical intervention can save its life.

Making an emotional appeal to lawmakers, Cathi Herrod, with the Center for Arizona Policy, relayed a story of a live birth where the baby girl was reportedly left for more than an hour to die on a cold steel medical table.

Neonatologist Peter Stephenson said the problem with SB 1367 is it is not limited to abortions as Herrod implied, but also impacts mothers who miscarry or need emergency medical intervention before their baby reaches 22 weeks.

At that stage or earlier, he said, the chance of survival, under optimal conditions, falls to 11 percent. That would include delivery at a Level 3 trauma center. And, in a third of those deliveries, he said, the child suffers severe complications.

Hugh Miller, another doctor specializing in high-risk pregnancies, told lawmakers that other than comfort care, trying to save babies born before they are viable is futile.

"What we can do,” he continued to further his point, “We can tragically instrument those kids and deprive those families of the last few moments of meaningful contact and nurturing with the very loved one that we want them to spend those last moments with."

He reminded House Judiciary Committee members on Wednesday that life should not be confused with what can be sustained and nurtured and what cannot be.

Sen. Steve Smith, R-Maricopa, said both state and federal law already require doctors to provide care to live-born babies, whether due to abortion, elective or induced, as well as other premature delivery. His measure would require state health officials to come up with rules of exactly what they must do to keep any baby born after 20 weeks of gestation alive.

The bill already passed the full senate last month. It now heads to the full House for a vote.

Holliday Moore is a native Arizonan and veteran journalist who joined KJZZ’s news team in January 2017.Moore graduated from Arizona State University after double majoring in mass communications and marketing/management. She spent her first two decades reporting for television news, beginning in small markets and working up to congressional correspondent in Washington, D.C., for a political news service.Family commitments in Arizona brought her back to the Southwest, where she covered legislative and court beats for Albuquerque’s KRQE-TV and the infamous Four Corner Manhunt as KREZ-TV’s managing editor.Back home in Phoenix, she developed ABC15’s “Democracy Project,” now instituted at all Scripps’ news stations nationwide. Her work garnered “Best Practices” recognition by the Poynter Institute and the prestigious Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Television Political Journalism.Her television reports, from sports to cultural issues, earned her multiple Emmy and Associated Press nominations, including a Rocky Mountain Emmy for her Hopi Partition Land Act coverage.As she started a family, Moore started her own media production agency, producing magazine-style travel stories for the Emmy-winning Arizona Highways Television show while working part time for a Valley radio station. She is convinced radio is where visual, sound, and print are merging through deeper storytelling. In her relatively short time with radio network affiliates, she has won four Edward R. Murrow Awards and multiple nominations from other professional news societies.Moore now teaches advanced broadcast writing to the next generation of reporters at ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, where a high percentage have gone on to receive national awards for their work in her class. She enjoys being back home near childhood friends and sharing the beautiful Arizona desert with her husband and young son.