A California bill AB 2223 by Democrat Assembly Member Buffy Wicks, D-Oakland, passed the Assembly Health Committee late Tuesday in an 11-3 vote. Critics argue that the bill could decriminalize infanticide.

Under California code, the definition of “perinatal” is “the period from the establishment of pregnancy to one month following delivery.” The bill will remove criminal liability from “all pregnancy outcomes.” This includes the death of a newborn during the perinatal period for any reason.

According to the analysis of the legislation prepared by Alison Merrilees, CA State Senate Legislative Director:

“This bill seeks to further clarify and strengthen California’s already strong legal protections against civil liability and criminal prosecution of a pregnant person for the death of their unborn fetus, creates a new civil action allowing individuals whose rights under the Reproductive Privacy Act are violated to seek accountability against “state actors” in the civil courts; and allows a civil action under the Bane Act (Civil Code Section 52.1) to be based upon violation of the bill, including for an exercise of prosecutorial discretion. The analysis reviews how existing criminal homicide statutes prohibit prosecution of a pregnant person for the death of their unborn fetus. Existing state law also prohibits a civil cause of action for prenatal torts (civil actions involving an unborn child). The analysis also points out that while other states are adopting increasingly aggressive measures to limit abortions, California continues to protect reproductive rights.”

The legislation comes as two Kings County women were charged with “fetal murder” for causing the stillbirths of their fetuses. They were imprisoned after delivering stillbirths and testing positive for methamphetamines. One of the women, Adora Perez, had an 11-year prison sentence overturned in March, and the other, Chelsea Becker, had charges dropped in May of last year.

The committee held a debate on Tuesday in Sacramento. It was attended by thousands of protesters, including The People’s Convoy, who traveled back from Washington, DC, to protest this bill and other COVID-19 bills debated in the CA state legislature.

Pastor Jack Hibbs of Calvary Church Chino Hills—who is a survivor of a failed abortion—gave testimony at the debate:

We are essentially talking about legalizing murder because nobody can investigate [or] determine how this child died. A mother could be depressed or confused after pregnancy, and during that time, the child is dead; why? We need to find out why. It’s not prosecuting or bringing anything against anyone; it’s the value of human life!

Pastor Jack Hibbs Photo credit: YouTube screenshot California Family Council

Personally, with my high view of life itself, those supporting this bill are supporting a bill that legalizes the termination of a born child. A child that is now beyond the issue of debate of is it a blob or whatever; this is a living, breathing child. We are going down a path that is dangerous and an afront. This is critical, and this is not going away no matter how it is voted on and is a hill for moral people to die on.

The bible says in Proverbs 31 ‘defend those that have no voice and those that are destined to be crushed.” That is a 3,000-year-old Proverb that sounds like it was written yesterday’.

Pastor Hibbs, who addressed his church on Wednesday, gave a detailed account of the protest event and debate.

Former supermodel Kathy Ireland on her website, made the following statement:

Our hearts are smashed by tears. Our family is 8th generation Californian. This is where we live, love and work. Tuesday, the Assembly Judiciary and Health committees passed a terrifying bill which will legalize perinatal murder. This has happened, despite thousands of peaceful protestors. The bill is AB-2223. People of every faith, people with no faith, every political party, every race, gender and sexual orientation recognize taking the life of a child is deeply disturbing, inhumane and iniquitous.

This bill literally allows the killing of children. The World Health Organization acknowledges approximately 125,000 abortions happen daily—on a global basis. With this bill, our nation moves beyond abortion and allows infanticides to become permissible tragedies. This is not a women’s rights issue; this is a human rights crisis. Those of us who believe in human rights must engage in peaceful activism to save our children.”

Right to Life League Vice President of legal affairs, Susan Arnall, told the committee during the debate:

A mother, her boyfriend or, for that matter, the babysitter, can starve or beat or shake a three-week-old baby to death, and no one can investigate because under (the bill) it is a ‘perinatal death’.

At the close of the Committee debate, Minority Leader of the California State Assembly and the Committee Vice-Chair Marie Waldron (R-District 75) said:

Born alive persons are protected by the U.S. Constitution. And as often occurs with California Legislative excesses that we have seen in the past, this will certainly be struck down as unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court. So I urge my colleagues to not support this bill.

The bill will now move to the appropriations committee, then to the assembly floor for a vote.