House passes Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act amid near-unanimous Dem opposition

 January 15, 2023

In a development sure to shock the conscience of every pro-life voter in America, almost every Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives last week stood in opposition to a bill that would compel doctors to provide medical care for babies who survive botched abortion attempts, as Fox News reports.

The lower chamber ultimately passed the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act anyhow, by a margin of 220-210, with Democrat Rep. Henry Cuellar (TX) siding with Republicans and Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX) voting “present.”

House passes Born-Alive Act

The Born-Alive Survivors Protection Act is a piece of legislation Republicans pledged to push even before the party reclaimed majority status in the lower chamber, and it contains provisions related to scenarios in which a baby manages to survive an attempted termination.

The law provides that any infant facing such a circumstance must be given the same type and degree of care that would be provided to any other prematurely born baby.

According to the statute, infants who survive a botched abortion would need to be transported to a hospital, and medical professionals who fail to abide by the law's requirements would face fines and/or imprisonment of up to five years.

Rationales debated

Arguing in support of the law's passage, Republicans said that comments made in the past by former Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) are illustrative of why such provisions are so critical.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) explained, as Fox News noted, “We all know in 2019, then-Gov. Northam of the state of Virginia stated this: 'The infant would be delivered, the infant would be kept comfortable, the infant would be resuscitated if that's what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother.”

“The cavalier attitude he displayed toward human life is just wrong. It is simple. Infants born alive following an abortion are kids, are children. All newborns deserve the same level of care,” Jordan added.

On the other side of the aisle, Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) claimed that the bill's mandates would “directly interfere with the doctors' medical judgment and dictate a medical standard of care that may not be appropriate in all circumstances.”

Nadler and others suggested that requiring a baby born following a botched abortion to be taken to a hospital might run counter to the best interests of the family involved, and despite the fact that the bill involves no new restrictions on abortion, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) told Republicans that the bill is “part of your march to criminalize abortion care, to impose a nationwide ban, to set into motion government-mandated pregnancies.”

Reactions pour in

In the wake of the bill's passage, one of its sponsors, Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO), lauded the outcome, as The Hill reported, with the lawmaker declaring, “Every single newborn, regardless the circumstances of their birth, deserves to share the miracle of life and have lifesaving medical care. We must act with compassion to protect these little ones and give women a strong support system as they navigate the miracles and challenges of motherhood.”

Republican Rep. Kat Cammack of Florida agreed, saying, “Upholding the value and sanctity of life has been a personal mission for me, and this bill plays a key role in affirming what the American people have always known: life is sacred.”

Unsurprisingly, Democrat Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) voiced displeasure at the law's passage, deeming the measure “extremist, dangerous and unnecessary, and NARAL Pro-Choice America went even further, saying, “These bills make it plain: House Republicans are patently rejecting the will of the overwhelming majority of Americans who voted to support legal abortion in November.”

Though the Democrat-led Senate is unlikely to take up the measure now that it has passed the House, Republicans in the lower chamber made good on their pledge to advocate for a law that, as Rep. Derrick Van Orden (R-WI) explained, “is not about a woman's access to abortion” but rather “about the sanctity of life and the basic dignity of a human child.”

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