U.S. Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) will chair a hearing at the Senate Judiciary Committee on February 11 regarding the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. The hearing is titled, “The Infant Patient: Ensuring Appropriate Medical Care for Children Born Alive.”

The bill would require that babies born alive after a failed abortion attempt receive proper medical care and would subject abortionists to criminal penalties if they fail to comply. 

The bill is being brought up again after it failed to pass out of the U.S. Senate last year when the majority of Senate Democrats defeated the legislation in a vote of 53 yeas to 44 nays. Every Republican senator voted for the legislation joined by Democrats Bob Casey (D-PA), Doug Jones (D-AL) and Joe Manchin (D-WV).

Senator Sasse introduced the bill after Virginia Democrat Governor Ralph Northam seemed to endorse infanticide on a radio show last year. “If the mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen. The infant would be delivered, the infant would be kept comfortable, the infant would be resuscitated if this is what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensure between the physician and the mother,” Gov. Northam said. The comment sparked immense backlash and renewed debate over the Born-Alive bill. 

Current law recognizes all infants born at any stage as “persons.” However, there are no legal requirements for abortion doctors to provide age-appropriate medical care to babies born alive who are struggling for life after a failed abortion.

Last year’s bill would have required medical professionals to provide care in order to preserve the life of the child and ensure that the child is immediately transported and admitted to a hospital.

Some opponents of the bill argue that the problem of abortionists failing to provide appropriate medical care to newborns after a failed abortion is nonexistent. Yet according to a report from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), between 2003 and 2014 at least 143 newborns died after being born alive during a failed abortions. 

In a statement announcing the hearing, Senator Sasse said, “Every baby deserves dignity and a fighting chance, but current federal law doesn’t guarantee that. Last year, a bipartisan majority of the Senate voted for the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, but we couldn’t break the abortion industry’s filibuster.”

“This bill isn’t about Republican or Democratic politics; it’s about making sure the law protects newborn babies. I hope that my colleagues who didn’t vote for the bill will come to this hearing to hear from the medical and legal community. All of us love babies, and we should all agree to protect them,” the statement concluded.

According to National Review, the hearing will feature testimony from five witnesses, both for and against the legislation.

In opposition to the Born-Alive bill from last year, some Democrat senators argued that the real purpose of the bill was to chip away at abortion protections. Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) said, ‘This legislation we’re debating today is the latest salvo in the far-right assault on women’s constitutionally protected right to an abortion.” 

The problem with that argument is that the Born-Alive bill has nothing to do with abortion. It only enacts requirements on how abortionists must provide care for newborn infants who have already been born alive.

As Melanie Israel from the Heritage Foundation noted in an article last year, “Despite unfounded and baseless claims to the contrary, the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act does not restrict a woman’s access to abortion. It simply ensures that a living newborn infant, regardless of the circumstances of the child’s birth or whether he/she was ‘wanted’ or not, receives proper medical care.”

Providing newborns who are struggling for life with age-appropriate medical care shouldn’t be remotely controversial. Let’s pray the United States will soon enact common sense laws to protect newborn babies, those most vulnerable among us.


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Photo by Gage Skidmore