Assembly Bill 2223 by Assemblywoman Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland), misleadingly labeled “Reproductive health,” actually legalizes infanticide in an abortion bill to expand the killing of babies past the moment of birth up to weeks after, according to opponents of the bill. Wicks says “women should not be prosecuted for a pregnancy loss.”
Opponents point to the vague language and new phraseology of abortion terms: “Although definitions of ‘perinatal death’ vary, all of them include the demise of newborns seven days or more after birth,” the California Family Council said.
Assemblywoman Wicks insisted in a hearing in the Assembly Judiciary Committee Tuesday that AB 2223 does not support infanticide, and has only been labeled such because of the spread of misinformation by those who oppose the bill. Wicks said while other states are adopting increasingly aggressive measures to limit abortions, California continues to protect reproductive rights.
Wicks said the bill only applies to pregnant women who should “not be prosecuted for losing or miscarrying a baby,” or for a “tragic situation during pregnancy.” She spoke of two women who were “prosecuted for their stillborns.”
“Parents should not be be criminalized for a tragic loss,” Wicks said.
From the bill analysis, According to the author (Wicks): “AB 2223 protects reproductive freedom by clarifying that the Reproductive Privacy Act prohibits pregnancy criminalization, and creates a private right of action for people whose rights have been violated to seek accountability using civil courts. It would also remove outdated provisions requiring coroners to investigate certain pregnancy losses, and ensure that information collected about pregnancy loss is not used to target people through criminal or civil legal systems.”
What kind of “tragic loss” is Wicks talking about in the “criminal prosecution of pregnancy outcomes?”
These are the terms used in AB 2223 and by supporters to explain:
- pregnancy loss
- Reproductive health
- Reproductive justice
- reproductive rights
- pregnant person
- pregnancy outcomes
- self-managing an abortion
Two attorneys from “reproductive justice” law firms representing the two women who were prosecuted spoke in support of AB 2223 and explained the criminal prosecutions. One of the women was charged with 1st Degree murder for the “still birth” of her infant, because the mother was addicted to and using meth while pregnant. But the attorney claimed “meth addiction cannot cause still birth.”
The second attorney took the creative language even further stating that women should not be criminally prosecuted for a still birth or pregnancy loss, or for “self-managing an abortion.”
The attorneys clearly conflated a miscarriage and still-birth in non-addicted pregnant women with pregnant addicted drug users.
The back story is that California Attorney General Rob Bonta is working with Assemblywoman Wicks on this. Last year, AG Bonta “filed multiple briefs in support of Ms. Perez’s work to obtain her freedom from prison. In the briefs, the Attorney General argued that pregnant individuals cannot be prosecuted or convicted under California’s statutes for murder of a fetus based on the outcome of their pregnancy.”
In January he issued a legal alert to all California district attorneys, police chiefs, and sheriffs stating that “section 187 of the California Penal Code was intended to hold accountable those who inflict harm on pregnant individuals, resulting in miscarriage or stillbirth, not to punish people who suffer the loss of their pregnancy. The alert aims to prevent improper and unjust applications of the law similar to the prosecutions of Adora Perez and Chelsea Becker – two women in Kings County who were charged with ‘fetal murder’ for allegedly causing the stillbirth of their fetuses. The charges against Ms. Becker were dismissed in May 2021. However, Ms. Perez remains in prison serving an 11-year sentence.”
However, buried in his alert is the law: “Penal Code section 187 defines murder as ‘the unlawful killing of a human being, or a fetus, with malice aforethought.’ Reference to ‘a fetus’ was added in 1970 when the California Legislature amended section 187,” Bonta said. His alert “reiterates that the Legislature did not intend to include a pregnant person’s own actions that might result in a miscarriage or stillbirth.”
But if the “fetus” is killed due to drug addiction and drug use by the mother, how can Bonta claim that isn’t the “intent” of the law?
Don’t OB/Gyn physicians still warn pregnant women against smoking, drinking alcohol, drug use and even taking Tylenol and allergy medications throughout the pregnancy?
Bonta needs Wick’s legislation passed and signed into law if his legal briefs are going anywhere.
The California Family Council explains its opposition:
They intend to not only codify the killing of unborn children throughout all nine months of pregnancy but to decriminalize killing newborns days or even weeks after birth.
New language added to AB 2223 last week revealed the disturbing intent. The proposed legislation would shield a mother from civil and criminal charges for any “actions or omissions” related to her pregnancy, “including miscarriage, stillbirth, or abortion, or perinatal death.” Although definitions of “perinatal death” vary, all of them include the demise of newborns seven days or more after birth.
It also allows a woman to sue any police department or legal authority which arrests or charges her for hurting or killing her child under provisions of the bill.
A right-to-life attorney spoke in opposition and said California Penal Code Section 187 already prohibits late term abortions, and anyone who intentionally harms a baby. She said peri-natal death is considered up to one month upon delivery. “California Health and Safety Code 123435 protects the rights of premature infants born alive,”she said.
Another right-to-life attorney said the language in the bill was vague, with references to “interferences” with late-term abortions. “What does that mean?” she asked. “No definition of ‘peri-natal’ stops at birth,” she added. She said with California as an “abortion sanctuary” state, there will be no right-to-life at 39 weeks, yet, “neither can care for themselves for many years.”
She also noted that according to AB 2223, law enforcement will be barred from investigating an infant death.
During her closing, Assemblywoman Wicks again said, “this is not a bill about infanticide,” and women should “not be prosecuted for a pregnancy loss.”
AB 2223 was passed along party lines out of the Assembly Judiciary Committee.
The bill is co-sponsored by ACLU California Action, Black Women for Wellness, California Latinas for Reproductive Justice, If/When/How: Lawyering for Reproductive Justice, NARAL Pro-Choice California, and Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California.
For more on this topic, read California: The Golden State Becomes The Abortion State: Abortion tourism and infanticide are now California attractions.