Senate Democrats have blocked passage of the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act for the third year in a row. The bill would have required abortionists to provide lifesaving medical care to babies born alive after a failed abortion.
The legislation was reintroduced by Senator Ben Sasse, R-Neb., on January 28, but was voted down last Thursday in a 52-48 vote after almost all Democrats refused to support the bill.
Sen. Sasse introduced the bill as an amendment to a budget resolution this year, and though it earned support from a majority of senators, it failed to meet the 60-vote threshold needed to break the filibuster. The amendment garnered support from every Senate Republican and from two Democrats, Sens. Joe Manchin, W.Va., and Bob Casey, Pa.
Sen. Sasse first introduced the bill in 2015, and then again in 2019 after Democrat Virginia Governor Ralph Northam seemed to endorse infanticide.
Prior to this year’s vote, Sen. Sasse spoke in support of the bill on the Senate floor.“This amendment, modeled on the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, is an opportunity to come together and to defend babies,” Sen. Sasse said.
“It’s pretty simple actually. Every baby – whether she’s born in a state-of-the-art hospital with a NICU unit or whether she’s born in an abortion clinic in a strip mall – every baby is born with dignity and is created in God’s image and she deserves care.
“This amendment is aimed at making sure babies who survive abortions get the same degree of care that any other newborn would. There’s nothing partisan about that. That’s why my Democratic colleagues Joe Manchin and Bob Casey both voted for this last year as legislation. We disagree on a bunch of stuff, but not this.
“There’s a lot of complicated debates in this chamber but this isn’t actually one of them. Here’s a chance for 100 senators to come together and support every baby. Every baby deserves a fighting chance,” he added.
In 2019, Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, voted against the bill, saying that it part of a “decades-long effort by Republicans to take control of women’s bodies and prevent us from exercising our constitutional right to make personal decisions, which include abortion.”
However, even though the word “abortion” is contained in the bill’s title, it has little to do with the procedure. The legislation would regulate the conduct of health care practitioners after a baby is already born following a botched abortion.
The legislation states, “If an abortion results in the live birth of an infant, the infant is a legal person for all purposes under the laws of the United States, and entitled to all the protections of such laws.”
Sen. Sasse made this exact point after the legislation failed to pass in the Senate last week.
“Protecting newborns ought to be the easiest thing in the world. This legislation isn’t red vs. blue, it is simply about giving every baby a fighting chance. Every baby deserves care. This isn’t about abortion, it’s about human rights,” he said.
Indeed, the bill would require health care practitioners to “preserve the life and health of the child” as any practitioner “would render to any other child born alive at the same gestational age.”
The bill would subject those who violate the law to fines and up to five years in prison. Additionally, it would clarify that anyone who intentionally kills a child born alive following a failed abortion would be punished under 18 U.S. Code § 1111, the section of law defining murder.
Opponents of the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act argue that its already illegal to kill a born child. However, the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act passed in 2002 contained no penalties for neglecting to care for infants born premature after a failed abortion who are struggling for life.
You can follow this author on Parler @ZacharyMettler
Photo from POOL/REUTERS