U.S. Senate again fails to pass Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act

U.S. Senate again fails to pass Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act

The U.S. Capitol is seen at dawn in Washington Jan. 10, 2021. (Credit: Tyler Orsburn/CNS.)

Failure to pass the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act "shows just how extreme the majority of Senate Democrats are," said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Failure to pass the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act “shows just how extreme the majority of Senate Democrats are,” said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life.

The measure was proposed as an amendment to the 2021 Budget Resolution in the Senate. In a roll call vote Feb. 4 all Senate Republicans, along with Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, and Bob Casey Jr., D-Pennsylvania, voted in favor of the amendment.

Forty-eight Senate Democrats blocked the amendment, which required 60 votes to pass.

The measure requires that, when a baby is born alive following an abortion, health care practitioners must exercise the same degree of professional skill and care that would be offered to any other child born alive at the same gestational age. It also requires that, following appropriate care, health care workers must transport the child immediately to a hospital.

Tobias and other supporters of the measure say current federal law does not sufficiently protect a child born following an abortion, saying evidence exists that some abortion providers do not regard babies born alive during abortions as persons as provided for under the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, enacted by Congress in 2002 with unanimous support.

Under this law, babies who are born alive, whether before or after “viability,” are recognized as full legal persons under federal law.

The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act “is not about abortion but pro-abortion groups and their allies in the Senate have tried to make it about abortion,” Tobias said in a statement released late Feb. 4. “There is no such thing as a ‘post-birth abortion.’ Allowing a child to die after birth is infanticide.”

“After surviving the violence of abortion, these newborn babies should be given the chance to survive,” she added.

The Budget Resolution was approved by the Senate early Feb. 5 and House passed its version later that day. This key procedural step will allow Democrats to pass President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package without a filibuster by the Republicans, who are against it.

Meanwhile, in the House the evening of Feb. 3, U.S. Rep. Chris Smith, R-New Jersey, co-chair of the pro-life caucus, was joined by several members of Congress as he led a special order on the House floor, saying the unborn need President Joe Biden “to be their friend and advocate — not another powerful adversary.”

“Just like today, both Presidents (Bill) Clinton and (Barack) Obama came into office with Democrat majorities in both houses and sweeping plans to eviscerate all pro-life laws and policies,” said Smith, a Catholic. “Despite pro-life setbacks, however, pro-lifers absolutely refused to quit or go away.”

Pro-lifers “again face enormous challenges” under the administration of Biden, himself a Catholic, and they “recommit to persevere through prayer, fasting and good works — and respect, including for those with whom we fundamentally disagree — even when it’s not reciprocated,” Smith said.

He quoted Biden in his inauguration speech saying “the dream of justice for all will be deferred no longer” and speaking of “a cry for survival from the planet itself.”

“I believe the dream of ‘justice for all’ cannot be achieved,” Smith said, “if an entire segment of society is legally ignored and discriminated against because of where they live — in their mothers’ wombs — and how small and defenseless they are.”

In years past, then-Sen. Biden supported was against taxpayer funding for abortion, Smith noted, quoting Biden as saying he had “consistently — on no fewer than 50 occasions — voted against federal funding of abortions. … Those of us who are opposed to abortion should not be compelled to pay for them.”

Within days of his inauguration, Biden signed executive orders reversing Trump administration blocks on federal funding going to nongovernmental organizations that promote abortion overseas as family planning.

“Yet, Americans overwhelmingly oppose using U.S. foreign aid to subsidize abortion,” Smith said, citing results of an annual Marist poll commissioned by the Knights of Columbus that show 77 percent of Americans oppose using tax dollars this way.

“By reason of their age, dependency, immaturity, inconvenience or unwantedness, unborn children have been denied justice and legally rendered persona non grata,” Smith said, but “their cries for survival couldn’t be any more desperate.”

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