Updated: Apr 7, 2022
When analyzing any bill, it is not just about what the bill says, it’s also about what it doesn’t say – the specifics that are conveniently left out or the parts that are left up to interpretation. This is the case with California’s Assembly Bill (AB) 2223. Deceptively titled, “Reproductive Health,” by its author, Assemblywoman Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland), AB 2223 sets out to accomplish something entirely different from “health.” As of April 5, 2022, the bill passed in the California Assembly Judiciary Committee, but will now head to the Assembly Health Committee for another round of votes.
Not only does the new bill seek to allow abortions at any point during a pregnancy, but it seeks to legalize infanticide or the killing of newborn babies. How does it permit this atrocity? Examine the excerpt from the bill below and notice the term “perinatal death”:
At first glance, “perinatal death” might not jump out as a red flag, and interestingly enough, the definition of “perinatal” is nowhere to be found in the document. But with a minute of research, the definition is clear… and disturbing. Merriam-Webster defines “perinatal” as “occurring in, concerned with, or being in the period around the time of birth.” Other sources, such as Law Insider and Farlex Partner Medical Dictionary, respectively define “perinatal death” as “the death of an infant within 28 days of birth” and “mortality around the time of birth… from 28 weeks’ gestation to 1 week postnatal.” These descriptions are undeniably shocking when considering the context of AB 2223.
While Assemblywoman Wicks insists that AB 2223 is not about infanticide, declaring that its purpose is to prevent women from being "prosecuted for a pregnancy loss," opponents of the bill can't help but point to the alarming level of vagueness in the legislation. "Perinatal death" is just one example. As the California Family Council explains, "The proposed legislation would shield a mother from civil and criminal charges for any 'actions or omissions' related to her pregnancy," which could mean a number of things – from drug use to "self-managed abortion." The lack of consequences, however, doesn't end with the mother, but any "person who aids or assists a pregnant person" is equally "not subject to civil or... criminal liability or penalty."
According to the bill itself:
In essence, AB 2223 appears to be pushing the notion that "anything goes," including outright murder, and is blatantly removing any obstacles formerly in the way of abortion. And the vague language? Perhaps it's intentional.
Despite the bill passing in the first round of voting, its success is not yet guaranteed. Those against the bill are urging individuals to contact the committee and request members to vote "No."