Last Thursday, Senator Ben Sasse (R-Nebraska) expressed his disgust with Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s (D) comments describing how a child born alive after a botched abortion would be allowed to die. Sen. Sasse announced his intent to offer his bill, the Born–Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, via Rule XIV. This procedural measure in the Senate is an expedited way to move a bill, but it requires unanimous consent. The Born-Alive bill protects infants who are born alive after an attempted abortion. The bill requires appropriate medical care for any child who survives an attempted abortion, as well as establishing criminal penalties for health-care practitioners who violate this requirement.
This legislation does not impose restrictions on abortion and is not a way to prosecute women who have abortions; but it is a protection of human dignity and a reflection on our basic humanity. The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act guarantees that if a child of an attempted abortion is born alive, he or she will receive the medical care that would otherwise occur if the child was born at that gestation under normal circumstances. This bill is not even about abortion; it’s about protecting children from infanticide.
Senator Murray (D-Washington) objected to the unanimous consent request and said caring for infants born alive after an abortion was already law. Congress did pass a weak born-alive bill via unanimous consent in 2002, but this law does not have any enforcement mechanism behind it. That is what Sen. Sasse’s bill would provide. The comments made by Gov. Northam demonstrate there is great need for this existing law to be strengthened. If a governor who served as a pediatrician for decades has no problem detailing how to break the law and allow a newborn child to die after a botched abortion, then the penalties for doctors who do this are not high enough. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has stated there will be a vote on Born Alive in the coming weeks, so this is not totally dead in the Senate.
During the State of the Union, President Trump expressed passionate concern over this issue and called on Congress to protect innocent life. Representative Ann Wagner (R-Missouri) introduced this bill in the House this week. Because Speaker Pelosi and her House majority are hostile to this bill, Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-Louisiana) announced that, after 30 legislative days, he will file a discharge petition that would force a vote if it is signed by a majority of House members (218). During these 30 legislative days, different Members of Congress will be speaking in support of Born Alive on the House floor and will be asking for unanimous consent for a vote on born alive every day for 30 legislative days until this discharge petition is ripe and can be considered. Will democrats keep objecting?
Please call your representative today and ask him/her to sign Whip Scalise’s discharge petition for H.R. 962, the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act.