The answer is that no law was protecting them. We know this for certain because the Illinois attorney general at the time, Jim Ryan — the man charged with enforcing state laws — wrote a letter on July 17, 2000, expressing his finding that Christ Hospital was breaking no laws in leaving premature babies to die after they survived abortions.
While we are deeply respectful of your serious concerns about the practices and methods of abortions at this hospital, we have concluded that there is no basis for legal action by this office against the Hospital or its employees, agents or staff at this time.
So again: according to the state’s chief enforcer of the law, Christ Hospital was doing nothing illegal when they left premature babies to die after they had survived abortions. Note that this is this is the very reason legislators were trying to pass the born-alive bill in the first place.