TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - A Florida House committee swiftly approved a bill Thursday that would penalize people who don't seek medical care for newborns that survive botched abortions, a scenario that Planned Parenthood called extremely rare.
    
The bill sailed through the House Health and Human Services Committee after representatives heard emotional testimony from a woman who claimed she was born two days after her mother underwent a procedure that she thought terminated the pregnancy. The woman, 41-year-old Gail Adger, said she was living proof of the bill's necessity.
    
Lawmakers said they did not have statistics on how many infants survived failed procedures. However, the bill requires all abortion providers to report failed procedures to state health authorities. Failing to do so would be a misdemeanor.
    
Planned Parenthood dropped its opposition to the measure after lawmakers removed language that would have taken parental rights away from women who gave birth to infants that survived an abortion. Spokeswoman Judith Selzer said that provision attempted to "shame and judge a woman."
    
The bill is in line with existing medical guidelines and ethics, as well as Planned Parenthood's own policies that require doctors to respond in life-threatening situations, said spokeswoman Lillian Tamayo. She said the bill focuses on situations that are "extremely unlikely and highly unusual."
    
Under the bill, failure to treat such newborns or to have them transported to a hospital would be a misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail, a $1,000 fine or both.
    
"This bill is intended solely to guarantee all respect and humanity to infants born alive, regardless of how they entered this world," said state Rep. Cary Pigman, R-Avon Park, the bill's sponsor.
    
Pigman said he didn't know how often infants survive abortions but said that without the reporting requirement, officials would be left with "anecdotal reports ... from time to time which are horrendous."
    
He said his bill does not affect actual abortion procedures.
    
The day's most emotional testimony came from Adger, a North Lauderdale church worker.
    
Adger, who went on to play college basketball and to graduate from college, said the measure is needed "so that others who survive an abortion can have that same turnaround and enjoy a healthy, blessed life."
    
Adger said her mother became pregnant with her out of wedlock. Her mother, then 20, moved from Louisiana to Michigan to live with an aunt because she didn't want the rest of her family to see her pregnant, Adger said.
    
Six months into the pregnancy, she went to have an abortion. But a couple of days after the procedure, her mother began having cramps and delivered Adger over a toilet at her aunt's house, she said. She weighed less than two pounds and had no heartbeat, so her mother stuffed her into a garbage bag, thinking she had died. But when she coughed, her mother called 911 and she was taken to a hospital.
    
With that cough, "my fate changed forever," Adger said.
    
"At that moment, I was alive," she said. "And my mom had a choice to either go back and continue the process of throwing me in a Dumpster or rushing me to the hospital to receive medical care. I'm thankful today for those health care professionals that valued my life and attended to me to sustain my life."
    
Adger said she spent the first two months of her life in a hospital but does not suffer from any health problems. After that, she said her mother raised her in a "loving environment."

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