An effort by Senate Republicans to enhance protections for newborns who survive abortions, spurred by recent New York and Virginia bills making it easier to perform late-term terminations, was blocked earlier this month by Democrats in the U.S. Senate.
Ben Sasse, Nebraska's Republican Senator, asked for the "Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act" to be approved by unanimous consent. According to a press release from the senator, the bill would require "that the living child, after appropriate care has been given, be immediately transported and admitted to a hospital." This specific inclusion is necessary because: "Currently federal law does not adequately protect a born child who survives an abortion."
Sasse's bill builds on the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act of 2002, which did pass Congress by unanimous consent and was signed into law by President George W. Bush.
The newer version accepts the proposition that newborn babies have human value and rights which must be respected and protected from violence. It would require medical practitioners caring for infants born alive after botched abortions to "exercise the same degree of professional skill and care to protect the newborn as would be offered to any other child born alive at the same gestational age."
The Republican pro-life effort was prompted after comments recently by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam over a proposed Virginia bill was decried by the political right as pro-infanticide.
The Democrat governor and former pediatrician explained in a radio interview that under the proposed pro-abortion bill, the fate of a living infant who survived an abortion would be decided by the doctor and mother.
"So in this particular example if a mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen; the infant would be delivered," said Mr. Northam. "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."
The Virginia bill's sponsor, Democrat Delegate Kathy Tran, testified before a subcommittee that the measure would allow abortions even after labor had begun. That shocking revelation caused the measure to be defeated in the committee on a party-line vote. All Democrats on the committee voted in favor of the fetal-homicide provision.
The U.S. Senate "Rule 14" allows for bills to pass by "unanimous consent" and is used to expedite legislation which has bipartisan agreement. It also allows a single senator to object to such a bill and thereby derail full consideration. Such an objection was used by Sen. Patty Murray, D-Washington, to stop full consideration of Sasse's common-sense measure to protect the many babies who survive abortions.
"There are only two sides of the debate on the floor debate tonight: You're either for babies, or you're defending infanticide," Senator Sasse in his floor speech said. "That is actually what the legislation is that's before us."
"We have laws against infanticide in this country," Ms. Murray responded in her objection. "This is a gross misinterpretation of the actual language of the bill that is being asked to be considered and therefore I object."
Senator Sasse said the issue had taken on new urgency as Democrats in certain state legislatures push to remove obstacles to third-trimester abortions, right up to the moment of birth and possibly even after birth. In addition to New York's new abortion protections, other overreaching bills going beyond Roe and removing third-trimester limits are pending in New Mexico, Rhode Island and Vermont.
Now, as Democrats double down on extremist abortion viewpoints as party planks, Republicans will need to lead the debate over the immorality of infanticide and require a floor vote so all 100 senators can be placed on record about this immoral, inhumane and civil rights issue.
Steve Wagner, a bio-ethics expert and author, offers a brief, three-question, common-sense tool you can use to make a substantive pro-life case at str.org:
1. If the unborn fetus is growing in the womb, isn't it alive?
2. If it has human parents, how can it not be a human being?
3. Aren't living humans—like you and I—valuable?
King David described himself in poetic imagery as an innocent, unborn child with human value and destiny; a tiny individual who will never again be duplicated in all of human history:
You brought my inner parts into being; You wove me in my mother's womb. I will praise you, for You made me with fear and wonder; marvelous are Your works, and you know me completely. My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in secret, and intricately put together in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw me unformed, yet in Your book all my days were written, before any of them came into being (Ps. 139:13-16).
Over the next 18 months, it will become clear which political party is the "Party of Infanticide."
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