Republican Sens. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., and Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, are leading the charge to revitalize and pass the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act.
Sasse initially introduced the bill one year ago after Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said mothers and doctors should have the ability to deny medical care to newborns who survive a botched abortion. Despite the bill putting zero restrictions on abortion, after several weeks of debate, Democrats ultimately voted to block the legislation in 2019.
Current federal policy does not protect babies who are born alive following an attempted abortion, writes Melanie Israel, a research associate at The Heritage Foundation.
“While current law recognizes that all infants born alive are ‘persons,’ babies who survive an abortion attempt are left vulnerable because the law provides for no requirements that health care practitioners treat the infant with the same degree of care afforded to any other newborn,” Israel said.
The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act would remedy those problems and require children born through a botched abortion be provided with the proper medical care that any other child would be given.
On Tuesday the Senate Judiciary committee held a special hearing in which Ernst pleaded with Senate Democrats to support the bill which only aims to save infants who survive abortions.
“I hear arguments from the Left all the time that ‘it’s a woman’s body’ and that fetus within that woman’s body, it’s up to that woman to decide what is right or wrong. Now we’re arguing from the Left that a child that has exited a woman’s body is still her right to decide whether that child lives or dies. I think we need to get beyond that and recognize the fact that this is a baby,” Ernst said.
“There are a lot of children that are not wanted in this world, but does that mean it’s OK for a mom or dad to decide that child should not exist?
— Susan B. Anthony List #ModernizeOurLaw (@SBAList) February 11, 2020
In an interview with The Federalist, Ernst said the importance of this bill is two-fold. First, to stop infanticide indefinitely. Second, to bring awareness to the Left’s insane practices and desires for unlimited and fettered abortion practices.
“There are physicians, I mean actual physicians, that are sworn to save lives, and they would just help with that abortion procedure. But, once the baby is delivered, and not dead, then they would just allow that baby to die,” Ernst said. “I’m just, I’m having a hard time, squaring all of that.”
Ernst emphasized the importance of awareness as well. She applauded her colleagues, particularly Sasse, for not only creating the bill but bringing awareness to a relatively unknown subject.
“I think the awareness is important. I think raising the awareness and really, half of the effort of getting a bill done is making sure our constituencies know about it, so they can speak out about it and let legislators know,” Ernst said.
When asked whether Democrats would vote in favor of the bill, Ernst said she can think of three: Sens. Bob Casey, D-Pa., Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Doug Jones, D-Ala.
“Kudos to those that will be supportive of these efforts. And hopefully we can educate more of those Democrats on the other side to make sure that they understand, as [Sasse] said yesterday, this is not an attack on abortion. This is what we do when a baby is born alive from a botched abortion attempt. There is a difference.”
Ernst emphasized that because the bill does not address abortion, even pro-choice Democrats should be able to find compromise in voting yes.
“The bill itself does not address abortion, the rights or wrongs of it. What it does do is make sure that we are saving the life of a baby. So if we can make some of them understand that that’s what we’re focused on. Maybe we can get more support,” Ernst said.
The timeline on bringing this bill to the Senate floor is unclear, but Republicans hope to be successful in their second round of fighting for the fundamental right to life for babies.