‘You’re either for babies or you’re defending infanticide…’
(Kaylee McGhee, Liberty Headlines) Senate Democrats blocked an effort to pass legislation that would have guaranteed medical care for infants who survive attempted abortion, effectively banning infanticide in the U.S.
Sasse introduced the bill as legislation that needed to be passed by unanimously, meaning it took only one senator to block the bill.
“You’re either for babies or you’re defending infanticide,” Sasse said on the Senate floor before the vote. “That’s literally what this bill is about.”
With the conservative-leaning Supreme Court likely in coming years to hear challenges to the controversial Roe v. Wade and other decisions that uphold legal abortions at the federal level, despite there being no statutory basis, the issue is sure to be front and center in the 2020 elections.
Despite its defeat, the vote sought to ensure that senators’ positions on partial-birth and post-natal abortions are part of the public record.
Sasse authored the “Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act” after recent legislation in both New York and Virginia sought to legalize abortion into the third trimester.
The state of New York passed its bill and celebrated the act by lighting the top of the World Trade Center’s Freedom Tower pink, as a symbol of “women’s rights.”
It is uncertain whether the Virginia bill—which faced certain defeat in the Republican-led state legislature—may have been part of a coordinated national campaign on the Left to shock and frighten pro-life advocates away from a Roe v. Wade repeal.
One common trope pro-life advocates use in the abortion debate is that the issue should be left to the individual states to decide, but the sudden rhetorical support on the Left for infanticide—the killing of fully developed babies—is sure to raise the stakes even higher, leaving no room for middle ground.
While defending against the initial wave of revulsion from Fairfax Del. Kathy Tran’s bill, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, a former pediatrician, made comments that appeared to endorse the idea of killing babies even after they were born in some cases.
“If a 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 that’s what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother,” Northam said during an interview with radio station WTOP.
At a press conference, Northam later refused to disavow the comments, saying, “No, I don’t have any regrets. But I regret that those comments have been mischaracterized.”
Sasse quoted Northam when he introduced the bill, saying his comments have “tarnished the American idea of equality under the law.”
“He was literally talk about allowing the space and time for discussing infanticide,” Sasse continued. “No euphemism there.”
Murray objected to Sasse’s bill on the grounds that the U.S. already has laws against infanticide, and accused Sasse of misrepresenting the purpose the bill.
— Alexandra DeSanctis (@xan_desanctis) February 5, 2019
Specifically, the “Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Act” would have created criminal penalties for doctors who allow infants to die rather than providing medical care; mandated immediate transportation to a nearby hospital if an infant was born alive in an abortion clinic; and required health-care practitioners to report any violations of the law.
“Of course, if a baby is born alive then everything must be done to protect that life,” Rep. Jan Schakowski, D-Ill., said during floor debate over the bill, according to the National Review. “No one disagrees with that. And perhaps more importantly it is already the law. And to suggest otherwise is just wrong.”
Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif., agreed: “This bill is a solution in search of a problem. It’s unnecessary, redundant, and part of a broader attack on women’s health and reproductive health form the chamber and the Trump administration.”
But technically, no such law exists, National Review reported. As of 2014, only 26 states required doctors to provide medical care for infants who survived abortions. And as of 2016, only six states required abortion providers to report instances of infants being born alive during procedures. Democrats’ increasingly radicalized positions will only help to eliminate these existing protections.
“That Senate Democrats would block a bill to protect a baby who survives an abortion speaks volumes,” Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said in a statement. “Supporting a newborn’s right to life should not be a partisan issue. … It is clear that, on the issue of life, extremism has become mainstream in the Democratic Party.”
Sasse, likewise, asked colleagues on the other side of the aisle to reconsider their opposition.
“Everyone in this Senate ought to be able to say that the little baby deserves life, that she has rights, and that killing her is wrong.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said this would not be the last time Democrats would be forced to vote on this issue. He said Sasse’s legislation is the “very definition of something that might receive unanimous consent.”
“What could be more unanimous than this? It’s harrowing this legislation is even necessary,” McConnell said on the Senate floor. “I can assure [Democrats] this won’t be the last time to assure newborns are offered this final legal protection.”