Legislation for Life
This week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act and a resolution condemning attacks on pregnancy centers and pro-life groups. By a majority vote, which included all Republicans and even some Democrats, we saw two very moderate bills pass the House.
The Born-Alive Act only strengthens guarantees in existing law for medical care owed to babies who are born alive following an unsuccessful abortion. The resolution would create no new law and simply calls for the condemnation of criminal attacks following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the Mississippi abortion case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The majority of those criminal attacks were on pro-life institutions, like pregnancy centers and churches.
Elections Have Consequences
It is a stark example of how elections have drastic consequences on what legislation gets to see the light of day.
Mere months ago, the U.S. House of Representatives under Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) passed the Women’s Health Protection Act, legislation that supported abortion-on-demand and up to the point of birth. Following the Dobbs decision and in addition to that bill, the House voted to pass legislation that guaranteed access to abortifacients and conflated the issue of contraception with abortion in order to cause confusion about what the Supreme Court decided in Dobbs (hint: the decision had nothing to do with contraception).
The Born-Alive Act only received floor consideration through procedural maneuvering by the conservative minority in a measure known as a discharge petition. The over 100 attacks against pro-life institutions received no floor consideration.
But what a difference an election makes! While this Congress is held by conservatives with a slim 5-seat majority, control of the House is a zero-sum game, and the U.S. House of Representatives is a pro-life majority. House Republicans put it best when they said, “Following two years of Democrats’ fight for a radical abortion on-demand up until the moment of birth agenda, there is finally a House majority that fights for life.”
Promoting A Culture of Life
Pro-life means much more than what abortion opponents want it to mean, which is anything less than abortion on demand. As a pro-life organization, we wait in eager anticipation of the day when all abortion is illegal and unthinkable. But being pro-life means supporting the kind of policy that creates a culture of life, even when it has nothing to do with new protections for the unborn. That very policy passed the House today.
While the Born-Alive Act specifically protects abortion survivors, it is really about protecting newborns no matter the circumstance of their birth. During President Donald Trump’s Administration, President Trump issued Executive Order 13952, “Protecting Vulnerable Newborn and Infant Children.” That Executive Order described hospitals that “refuse[d] to require medical screening examination and stabilizing treatment or otherwise [did] not provide potentially lifesaving medical treatment to extremely premature or disabled infants, even when parents plead for such treatment.” The Order advanced a culture of life by directing the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to enforce laws that protected newborns and dedicated federal funding to enhancing life-saving treatment for newborns. The Born-Alive Act similarly advances this goal by giving stronger tools to enforce an appropriate medical standard of care for babies who survive abortions.
Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Missouri), who introduced the Born-Alive Act, recognized the cost of the death of a newborn when she said, “Women, fathers, and whole families all suffer deeply from the loss of their child. Our communities are weaker because these bright young ones did not grow up to share their wisdom, laughter, and ingenuity with us.”
The resolution is about calling for justice for crime victims, which should be obvious. Sadly, even access to justice is in question now more than ever while the Department of Justice is being used to increase abortion access through specious legal authority. The resolution condemns the attacks on pro-life institutions, recognizes the sanctity of life, and calls upon the Biden Administration to use all appropriate authority to protect the rights of pregnancy centers and pro-life groups and churches.
Rep. Mike Johnson (R-Louisiana), who introduced the resolution, explained that the resolution was necessary because “there has been so little accountability for the leaked draft opinion and ensuing violence and intimidation against pro-lifers,” so the pro-life majority in Congress was going to call for justice.
These actions elevate a conversation that advances a culture of life. As Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-California) said, the Born-Alive bill “protects the lives of the unborn and their mothers,” and the resolution is important because “in the face of a growing movement to devalue the miracle of life, we must also protect every American fighting for life.”
Keep Up the Pressure
Your engagement makes outcomes like this possible. Unless you tell your elected officials that you want to see laws that reflect a culture of life, they will assume that their constituents no longer care, or worse, think that their constituents support the pro-abortion narrative. Thank you so much for reaching out to your legislators, and we look forward to more pro-family votes that reflect Biblical values in the ensuing two years.