'Shocking,' 'inhumane,' 'extreme': Senate Democrats block bill to protect babies born alive

President Donald J. Trump delivers his State of the Union address at the U.S. Capitol, Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019, in Washington, D.C.
President Donald J. Trump delivers his State of the Union address at the U.S. Capitol, Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019, in Washington, D.C. | Photo: White House/Shealah Craighead

President Donald Trump and prominent conservative politicians and advocates reacted with dismay Monday after Senate Democrats blocked the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act that would have required health care professionals to protect the life of babies that survive an abortion attempt.

“Senate Democrats just voted against legislation to prevent the killing of newborn infant children. The Democrat position on abortion is now so extreme that they don’t mind executing babies AFTER birth....,” the President said in a statement on Twitter after a vote on the measure Monday.

"....This will be remembered as one of the most shocking votes in the history of Congress. If there is one thing we should all agree on, it’s protecting the lives of innocent babies," he continued.

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All but three Democrats voted against a procedural motion on the measure, preventing it from reaching the 60 votes needed for it to proceed, The Washington Post reported. The final vote count was 53 in favor and 44 opposed.

Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah called the move “unconscionable & inhumane.”

“Tonight, Senate Democrats blocked a vote on the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. It’s unconscionable & inhumane that some in our country, especially members of Congress, are unwilling to take a stand and support the lives of newborns who survive an abortion attempt,” he wrote on Twitter.

While statistics on the number of babies who survive initial abortion attempts in the U.S. is limited, an analysis of CDC records on infant deaths coded “Termination of pregnancy, affecting fetus and newborn” between 2003 and 2014, showed 588 such cases, the Heritage Foundation said. Of those cases, at least 143 could “definitively be classified as involving an induced termination.” The CDC acknowledges that the number is likely underestimated due to vagueness of terminology and a lack of clarity about the spontaneity of some abortions, the foundation noted.

The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act would: Create criminal penalties for doctors who allow infants to die rather than providing medical care after attempted abortions; Mandate that a child born alive in an abortion clinic be transported to a hospital for further care; Require health practitioners to report any violations of the law; Instituted penalties for intentionally killing a newborn, including fines and up to five years’ imprisonment and grant the woman on whom the abortion is performed civil cause of action against the abortionist and protection from prosecution if her child is not cared for after birth.

“There is no difference between infanticide and abortion: both kill the same child. We as a society have all of the information we need: undercover investigations, survivor testimonials from women like Gianna Jessen and Melissa Ohden who survived abortions, abortion workers on the record discussing their inhumane treatment of survivors, and Center for Disease Control data showing that babies are surviving abortions,” Live Action founder and President Lila Rose said in a statement to The Christian Post Monday.

“Today should have been a time of unity in protecting life, but instead, Democrats continue to push for the brutality of abortion and infanticide. With Congress failing to do its job, every state should take this issue up for themselves, ensuring care for these innocent children that are often left to die, and work to eradicate abortion altogether,” she added.

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, said Democrats crossed the line in blocking the measure.

“In a civilized society, there should brightly colored moral lines that neither party will cross. The killing of infants should be one of them. But Senate Democrats crossed that line today, putting every American on notice that there is no bridge too far, no policy too extreme. This should not be a partisan issue, but it is telling how extreme the Democrats have become that they even refuse to condemn infanticide,” he said in a statement to CP.

To express their anger over the blocking of the measure, the FRC is urging conservatives to join a campaign called “End Birthday Abortion” that will deliver thousands of baby hats to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.  Each hat will be accompanied by a message urging the House of Representatives to end birthday abortions and take decisive action to protect all babies born alive from being killed outside the womb.

“The first article of clothing a baby gets in the delivery room is a thermal hat with blue and pink stripes. That’s what we would hope for every newborn. Instead, a shocking 21 states fail to protect babies born alive from being killed outside the womb. We want to send a reminder to Speaker Pelosi and her colleagues in the House that babies should be met with the warmth of a hat, not with the cold steel of scissors or an examination table,” Perkins said as he urged conservatives to pray. 

“This should be a reminder to pray. As you join with us in collecting these hats and sending them to Speaker Pelosi, remember that no elected official is beyond the reach of God. Let us pray for all those in positions of authority. When they are confronted with these baby hats as a visible symbol of what they are doing, may God prick their consciences and move them to pass legislation to protect born-alive infants from further harm,” Perkins ended.

This is the second time this month the Senate attempted to pass the bill. Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., sought unanimous consent to pass the legislation on Feb. 4. The U.S. House passed a similar bill in January, 2018. 

The Born-Alive Infants Protection Act was signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2002. This new bill would add penalties and enforcement mechanisms to that law. 

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