Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., kept his word Monday evening, coming to the Senate floor and giving all 100 U.S. senators the opportunity to condemn infanticide. The opportunity was declined by Senate Democrats.
Sasse asked for unanimous consent to proceed to a vote on the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, a bill that would protect infants born alive after attempted abortion procedures by requiring doctors to provide medical care to those — I must stress this — born-alive infants. Without these protections, an infant who survives an abortion procedure may be left to die on the table in a state like New York, where late-term abortion up to the point of delivery is now legal if an abortionist says it is necessary to “protect the mother’s health” or that the fetus is not “viable.”
“Every senator will have the opportunity to stand for human dignity – to stand for the belief that, in this country, all of us are created equal,” Sasse said. “Because if that equality means anything, surely it means that infanticide is wrong. Frankly, this shouldn’t be hard.”
Sasse moved to pass this bill after Virginia Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam, in defense of a bill introduced in his state similar to the New York law, suggested that a mother and her physician would have a “discussion” about what to do with an infant born alive after an attempted abortion.
“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.
Sasse said Governor Northam endorsed infanticide.
No euphemisms. No weasel-words there. Infants could kept comfortable and resuscitated. And also, baby girls could be left cold and alone to die.
Just a few years ago, the abortion lobby was really clear in its talk about hoping that abortion would be “safe and legal, but rare.” This was the slogan. Abortion would be “safe, legal, and rare.” Now we’re talking about keeping a baby comfortable while the doctors have a debate about infanticide.
That is what we’re talking about here on the floor tonight. We’re not talking about second-trimester abortion; we’re not having some big, complicated discussion about a mother’s reproductive freedom, as important as all those debates are. We’re actually talking about babies that have been born. The only debate on the floor tonight is about infanticide.
Sasse’s bill, cosponsored by 42 Senate Republicans, would require those physicians to save the life of the baby born alive. He pleaded with his Democratic colleagues, asking them not to object to his unanimous consent request.
There are only two sides of the debate on the floor tonight: You’re either for babies, or you’re defending infanticide. That is actually what the legislation is that’s before us.
Please don’t block this legislation.
Please don’t let Governor Northam define you. Don’t let an extremist pro-abortion lobby and pledge hold you hostage. Please don’t protect infanticide.
Democratic Senator Patty Murray of Washington stood in objection to the bill, claiming that infanticide is already illegal and accusing the Republicans of mischaracterizing Sasse’s bill.
“We have laws against infanticide in this country. This is a gross misinterpretation of the actual language of the bill that is being asked to be considered, and therefore, I object,” Murray said.
Murray is wrong, of course. As Sasse noted, the New York abortion law removed the protections for infants born alive during an attempted abortion. National Review’s Alexandra DeSanctis points out that only 26 states have affirmative protections for infants who survive abortions. And it’s hard to understand how Sasse and others have “mischaracterized” his bill, which is only seven pages long and not difficult to understand. The bill states that Congress finds: 1) “If an abortion results in the live birth of an infant, the infant is a legal person for all purposes under the laws of the United States, and entitled to all the protections of such laws”; and 2) “Any infant born alive after an abortion or within a hospital, clinic, or other facility has the same claim to the protection of the law that would arise for 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.”
Specifically, the bill Murray claims is grossly mischaracterized requires that a health care practitioner present when a child is born alive shall “exercise the same degree of professional skill, care, and diligence to preserve the life and health of the child as a reasonably diligent and conscientious health care practitioner would render to any other child born alive at the same gestational age.” Then it requires that health care practitioner to take the baby to a hospital for further care. The penalty for failing to follow the law would be at least five years’ imprisonment. Additionally, the intentional killing of a child born alive would be prosecuted as murder.
The bill has a mandatory reporting requirement, so people working at an abortion facility would be required to report if and when an abortionist does not work to save the life of an infant born alive. The bill also gives a mother the legal right to sue if her baby is born alive and the abortionist did not follow this law, letting the child die.
And that’s it. What exactly is Sasse mischaracterizing? His legislation protects infants born alive after attempted abortions from being left to die and clarifies that killing such an infant is murder. It’s an infanticide ban, exactly as Sasse describes.
It’s Murray and the other Democrats defending or excusing Northam’s comments and the New York abortion law who are making a gross mischaracterization. This is not hard. They are defending and excusing the murder of children born alive. By blocking the bill, Murray and the Democrats who support her protected infanticide.
Now it is time to push for a roll call vote. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., promised this would not be the last time this bill is considered.
— Leader McConnell (@senatemajldr) February 4, 2019
Speaking in support of Sasse’s bill, he said it is “harrowing” that this bill is necessary.
What could be more unanimous than this: That what medical professionals owe every single newborn American citizen, regardless of the circumstances of their birth, is attention and care — not neglect, and certainly not violence. Frankly, it’s harrowing that this legislation is even necessary. It was even more disturbing when, last week, a Democrat governor was unable to clearly and simply state that of course, these newborn babies have human rights that must be respected.
I’ve been co-sponsor of Senator Sasse’s legislation. And I hope that none of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle invent any reasons to block this request later today. That would make quite a disturbing statement. If they do inexplicably block Senator Sasse’s effort, I can assure them that this will not be the last time we try to ensure that all newborns are afforded this fundamental legal protection.
Likewise, Sasse promised to continue to seek a roll call vote on in the Senate on this bill. Every member of the United States Senate should go on record to oppose infanticide. This shouldn’t be a controversial position. It’s not a philosophical or scientific debate about when life begins. This is about little babies who are clearly, visibly alive and shouldn’t be killed or left to die. This is about what we, as Americans, are willing to do to protect those little babies.
Voters ought to know where their senators stand on opposing infanticide. The Senate must vote.
Chris Pandolfo is a staff writer and type-shouter for Conservative Review. He holds a B.A. in politics and economics from Hillsdale College. His interests are conservative political philosophy, the American founding, and progressive rock. Follow him on Twitter for doom-saying and great album recommendations @ChrisCPandolfo.
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