Monday, Ben Sasse’s legislation, the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, failed in a Senate vote, needing 60 votes to pass, and only receiving 53 votes in favor. The legislation would have protected babies who survive abortions, a seemingly uncontroversial notion. Yet Democrats have repeatedly blocked the bill, and the reasoning many have given is that the bill is unnecessary, thanks to the 2002 Born Alive Infants Protection Act.
On the surface, the bills may seem to be nearly identical, including similar names. But there are differences that make Sasse’s bill very necessary.
The 2002 Born Alive Infants Protection Act
What the Act did:
It stated that any child that survives an abortion is a person with full citizenship and is required to receive equal protection under federal law.
What the Act didn’t do:
There are virtually no penalties for anyone who breaks the law.
It likewise does not mandate the kind of treatment abortion survivors should receive, whether that be neonatal resuscitation or immediate transportation to the nearest hospital. The legislation, while well-meaning, therefore only protects abortion survivors in theory by proclaiming them to be “persons”. If an abortionist recognizes that the preborn child in front of him is a child and lets him die anyway, there are no penalties — no fines, no jail time, nothing.
The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protect Act
What the Act would have done:
The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Act remedies the lack of penalties in the 2002 law. Sasse’s bill requires health care providers to, first, “exercise the same degree of care as reasonably provided to any other child born alive at the same gestational age,” and to transport the child to the hospital.
Not doing these things would result in penalties, with the guilty party eligible to receive a criminal fine, up to five years prison time, or both. If an individual goes further, and acts to specifically prevent the survival of the abortion survivor, they could be prosecuted for murder.
Finally, the bill also requires the mandatory reporting of violations.
What the Act would not have done:
The woman who underwent the abortion not only is not eligible for prosecution, but she can sue the guilty party for damages.
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