The Republican House on Wednesday passed a bill that would require health providers to protect infants born alive after an attempted abortion. The vote tally saw 210 of 212 Democrats vote against it while all voting Republicans supported it.
Rep. Ann Wagner of Missouri, who introduced the bill, celebrated its passing following a yearslong effort. She touted how the legislation will “ensure that every single baby born in the United States receives lifesaving medical care at their most vulnerable moment,” “The Daily Wire” reported.
The bill, called the “Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act,” establishes that health- care practitioners who do not reasonably act to “preserve the life and health of the child” after an attempted abortion as they would any newborn face fines or up to five years imprisonment. The bill also outlines civil remedies for the mother of an abortion survivor.
While federal law does provide protections for babies born after botched abortions, the measure would specifically require healthcare practitioners to treat such babies like “any newborn, or for any person who comes to a hospital, clinic, or other facility for screening and treatment or otherwise becomes a patient within its care.”
Republicans and their supporters championed the legislation as instrumental in guaranteeing lifesaving care to newborns while Democrats and pro-abortion groups generally cast the bill as an attack on women’s reproductive rights and unnecessary because it is already illegal to kill infants who are born alive.
One Democrat, Rep. Henry Cuellar of Texas, joined all voting GOP lawmakers to support the legislation. Despite the victory for Republicans in the House, however, the legislation likely won’t get far in the Democratic-led Senate.
Senior Democratic lawmakers took to Twitter to criticize the Republicans who supported the “extreme” bill. Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Vice President Kamala Harris were among those who responded.
“Today, instead of joining Democrats to condemn all political violence, [House Republicans] chose to push their extreme anti-choice agenda,” Pelosi tweeted. “Democrats believe everyone deserves the freedom to access reproductive health services — without fear of violence, intimidation or harassment.”
Democrat House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, who replaced Nancy Pelosi after she stepped down from the role last year, complained the bill to protect babies born alive after failed abortions was part of “a march towards criminalizing abortion care, a nationwide ban.”
However, pro-life leaders celebrated the news.
“This reasonable legislation would protect a baby born alive following an abortion,” said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life. “This bill isn’t about interfering with a so-called right to abortion. It is about stopping infanticide. Congress must act now to pass this legislation and protect these vulnerable babies.”
–Alan Goforth | MV