THE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you all very much for this bill signing ceremony. I'm pleased to sign it in the great city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The history of our country is the story of a promise, a promise of life and liberty made at our founding and fulfilled over the centuries in our laws. It is a story of expanding inclusion and protection for the ignored and the weak and the powerless. And now we extend the promise and protection to the most vulnerable members of our society.
Today I sign the Born Alive Infants Protection Act. This important legislation ensures that every infant born alive -- including an infant who survives an abortion procedure -- is considered a person under federal law. (Applause.) This reform was passed with the overwhelming support of both political parties, and it is about to become the law of the land.
I appreciate so very much Senator Rick Santorum and Congressman Steve Chabot from Ohio for sponsoring this important piece of legislation. I also appreciate Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania and Congresswoman Melissa Hart for coming, as well. I want to thank the Bishop of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, Bishop Wuerl, for being here. It's good to see you again, Bishop. I appreciate Hadley Arkes, the Professor of Jurisprudence and American Institutions at Amherst University. I want to thank Jill Stanek, registered nurse, Labor and Delivery Unit, Christ Hospital and Medical Center, for being here, as well. I appreciate Gianna Jessen, who is an abortion survivor and a pro-life advocate. I want to thank Dr. Watson Bowes, who is a Professor Emeritus of Gynecology and Obstetrics at the University of North Carolina.
I want to thank you all for coming. It's important that you're here, to send a signal that you're dedicated to the protection of human life. The issue of abortion divides Americans, no question about it. Yet today we stand on common ground. The Born Alive Infants Protection Act establishes a principle in America law and American conscience: there is no right to destroy a child who has been born alive. (Applause.) A child who is born has intrinsic worth and must have the full protection of our laws.
Today, through sonograms and other technology, we can clearly -- see clearly that unborn children are members of the human family, as well. (Applause.) They reflect our image, and they are created in God's own image.
The Born Alive Infants Protection Act is a step toward the day when every child is welcomed in life and protected in law. (Applause.) It is a step toward the day when the promises of the Declaration of Independence will apply to everyone, not just those with the voice and power to defend their rights. This law is a step toward the day when America fully becomes, in the words of Pope John Paul II, "a hospitable, a welcoming culture."
Our society has enough compassion, wealth and love to care for mothers and their children, and to see the promise and potential of every life. In protecting the vulnerable and the weak, the imperfect and the unwanted, you are affirming a culture of life.
I'm grateful for your perseverance on behalf of this noble cause. I want to thank you for your hard work. I appreciate your care for every member of the human family. Thank you for coming today. It's now my honor and pleasure to sign into law the Born Alive Infants Protection Act.
Babies whose lungs are insufficiently developed to permit sustained survival are often spontaneously delivered alive, and may live for hours or days. Others are delivered alive during attempted late-term abortions or even as a method of late-term abortion.
The bill would codify (for federal law purposes only) the traditional definition of "born alive" that is already found in the laws of most states: complete expulsion from the mother, accompanied by heartbeat, respiration, and/or voluntary movements. The bill would also codify the traditional principle that the legal term "person" and other equivalent terms "shall include every infant member of the species homo sapiens who is born alive at any stage of development."
The bill defines a child as "born alive" only if it displays the specified vital sign(s) after "the complete expulsion or extraction from his or her mother" -- in other words, after pregnancy has ended.