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Ron DeSantis recently appeared on Fox News where he said:

California wants to have abortion all the way up til birth, I think they actually allow it post-birth, if you can believe that, which I think is truly horrific.

What does he mean by "post-birth abortion"? Does California actually allow (or plan to allow) such a thing?

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    Current technology does not enable public to verify what he is thinking. This might be hyperbole discussed here skeptics.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/3525/…
    – pinegulf
    Commented May 25, 2023 at 12:04
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    The statement is at 10:30 in the linked video. I also thought this was hyperbole at first, but watching the clip I don't think it is clear and it is presented as a real claim. It is not obviously just a rethorical device, so I think it is fair game for a question, no matter how absurd it sounds.
    – Mad Scientist
    Commented May 25, 2023 at 12:11
  • @pinegulf I'm not suggesting anyone is reading his mind. Instead I'm looking for some context, maybe there's some anecdote about an abortion that someone else referred to as being done post-birth. Commented May 25, 2023 at 12:19
  • @pinegulf that was my first thought which prompted the question Commented May 25, 2023 at 12:23
  • There seems to be a law or proposed law in California that contains language ("perinatal") that anti-abortion groups claim to allow abortions after birth. That's just from a quick search, but that looks to me to be the likely source for this statement.
    – Mad Scientist
    Commented May 25, 2023 at 12:38

1 Answer 1

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No.

tl;dr

Gov. DeSantis is likely referring to articles going around conservative media about an ambiguity in the original version of AB-2223 Reproductive Health Bill introduced by Assembly Member Wicks. The bill was amended in April 2022 to remove the ambiguity and signed into law Sept 2022, yet DeSantis continues to repeat the false claim as of this writing (May 25, 2023).


The (now defunct) Miami Standard published California introduces new bill that would allow mothers to kill their babies up to 7 days after birth [archive.org]. The National Review published Now, a California Bill to Permit Infant Death by Neglect (the author is a Fellow at the anti-evolution Discovery Institute).

This appears to be due to ambiguity around the term "perinatal" in the bill. WHO defines "perinatal" as...

The perinatal period commences at 22 completed weeks (154 days) of gestation (the time when birth weight is normally 500 g), and ends seven completed days after birth.

The original version of the bill, Feb 15th, 2022, proposed this addition to the law.

(a) Notwithstanding any other law, a person shall not be subject to civil or criminal liability or penalty, or otherwise deprived of their rights, based on their actions or omissions with respect to their pregnancy or actual, potential, or alleged pregnancy outcome, including miscarriage, stillbirth, or abortion, or perinatal death.

(b) A person who aids or assists a pregnant person in exercising their rights under this article shall not be subject to civil or criminal liability or penalty, or otherwise be deprived of their rights, based solely on their actions to aid or assist a pregnant person in exercising their rights under this article with the pregnant person’s voluntary consent.

A representative for Wicks clarified the intent is to protect women who lose their child in the week after birth due to complications during pregnancy from being investigated or prosecuted, as has happened in other states.

Anti-abortion activists are peddling an absurd and disingenuous argument that this bill is about killing newborns, when ironically, the part of the bill they’re pointing to is about protecting and supporting parents experiencing the grief of pregnancy loss... No person should face prison time for a tragic pregnancy outcome, and this bill will ensure that prosecutions and investigations have no place in reproductive health care.

The bill was amended April 6th, 2022 to clarify it covers only perinatal death due to complications during pregnancy.

(a) Notwithstanding any other law, a person shall not be subject to civil or criminal liability or penalty, or otherwise deprived of their rights, rights under this article, based on their actions or omissions with respect to their pregnancy or actual, potential, or alleged pregnancy outcome, including miscarriage, stillbirth, or abortion, or perinatal death due to causes that occurred in utero.

This version was made into law Sept 27th, 2022. In a press release, Gov Newsom had this to saw about the then new law...

An alarming number of states continue to outlaw abortion and criminalize women, and it’s more important than ever to fight like hell for those who need these essential services. We’re doing everything we can to protect people from any retaliation for accessing abortion care while also making it more affordable to get contraceptives.

References

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