Members of Congress want a vote to protect abortion survivors – will they get one?
Washington D.C., Apr 15, 2021 / 04:00 am America/Denver (CNA).
Members of the House are once again trying to bring up a vote on legislation protecting infant survivors of abortions.
On Wednesday, Rep. Kat Cammack (R-Fla.) filed a discharge petition to force a vote on the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act; the bill would require infants surviving abortions to receive the same standard of care as other prematurely-born babies.
Not all states publicize data on abortions. According to one data request from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, reported by the Charlotte Lozier Institute, 143 babies survived abortion attempts in the United States between 2003 and 2014; the CDC added that the number may have been an underestimate.
For 2019, Florida reported that two babies survived abortion attempts; between the years 2013 and 2019, 23 babies in Florida were reported to have been born alive during abortions.
The U.S. bishops’ conference (USCCB) supports the “Born-Alive” legislation.
“There should be no bill easier for Congress to pass than one that makes clear that killing newborn babies is wrong and will not be tolerated,” stated Kat Talalas, assistant director for pro-life communications for the USCCB’s pro-life committee.
“Infants who are born alive after an abortion attempt should be given the same degree of care to preserve their life and health as would be given to any other newborn baby,” Talalas stated.
Members sought to bring up a vote on the legislation in the previous Congress, but Democratic leadership stymied the attempts more than 75 times, Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) claimed.
The bill introduced on Wednesday, a version of which was introduced last Congress, requires babies surviving abortion attempts to receive the same standard of care that other children born prematurely would receive. Health care staff present for the botched abortion are required to give the care, and report failure to provide the care to law enforcement.
Failure to give the required care or to report a violation is punishable by fines or up to five years imprisonment under the legislation. Mothers of children who survive abortions and are not resuscitated can have a civil cause of action for the failure to provide the care to their child, and are protected from prosecution under the bill.
In order for the discharge petition to successfully bring up a vote on the bill, however, 218 members need to sign it. In the previous Congress, 205 members – including three Democrats and Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-N.J.) who switched party affiliations in 2019 – signed the discharge petition.
A 2002 law that passed both houses of Congress, the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, recognized unborn children as persons but did not include provisions requiring care for infant survivors of abortion.
Cammack is a freshman congresswoman endorsed by the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List. She recently told EWTN Pro-Life Weekly that, while she was in her mother’s womb, doctors advised her mother to have an abortion due to medical risks from the pregnancy.
“She had something inside of her that told her that everything was going to be okay,” Cammack said of her mother’s decision to choose life. “And that, to me, is the most powerful, impactful thing that really has shaped my views on this.”
As of Wednesday evening, 169 members had signed the new discharge petition.