The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would grant legal protection for babies born alive in an attempted abortion.
In a vote of 248 yeas to 177 nays taken on Friday H.R.3504, titled the "Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act" was passed in a largely party line tally.
Introduced by Arizona Congressman Trent Franks earlier this month, H.R. 3504 seeks to amend the federal criminal code to mandate that abortion providers must give proper medical care to any baby born alive in their facility.
"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," read HR 3504.
"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."
Over the past few months, Congress has debated various pro-life measures including HR 3504 and the defunding of Planned Parenthood Federation of America due to a series of undercover videos released by a California-based pro-life group.
The videos purport to show Planned Parenthood talking freely about illegally harvesting aborted baby organs, limbs, and human tissue for sale.
Congressman Bob Goodlatte, a Republican representing Virginia and chair of the House Judiciary Committee, stressed in his opening remarks that "babies are born alive during failed abortions."
"Congress must move immediately to protect any children born alive during the course of a failed abortion," said Rep. Goodlatte.
"The bill before us today is simple yet profound, insofar as it might be a reflection of the nation's conscience."
Congresswoman Judy Chu, Democrat representing California, argued that the bill was merely a way in which Republicans were attempting to undermine women's health.
"This bill is not about protecting children born alive, its real intent is to further undermine a woman's right to choose," said Rep. Chu.
"Not only does this bill attempt to politicize women's health and limit women's access to abortion, it will interfere with the sacred doctor-patient relationship."
HR 3504 was one of two pro-life bills brought before Congress on Friday as the federal government nears the deadline for a possible government shutdown that some believe may come over Planned Parenthood funding.