UPDATE, 2/4/21: An emailed press release from the office of Senator Ben Sasse noted today that “the Senate held a roll call vote on an amendment based on the legislation. The amendment received a bipartisan majority vote of 52-48, but failed to meet the 60-vote threshold required to advance.” Sasse’s press release added:
Current federal law does not adequately protect a born child who survives an abortion. In the 116th Congress, the legislation passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a bipartisan vote of 248 to 177.
In 2019, Sasse asked for unanimous consent on the bill but some Democrats blocked the request. The bill was then brought to the Senate Floor for a roll call vote and, despite receiving the support of a bipartisan majority, Senator Sasse’s Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act failed to receive 60 votes to break a Democratic filibuster.
1/29/21: On Thursday, January 28, less than a week after the 48th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, Republican Senator Ben Sasse from Nebraska reintroduced his Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act in the Senate. He first introduced the bill in 2015, and then again in 2017 and 2019, but it failed to become law each time.
Shortly after reintroducing the bill in 2019, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s jarring remarks about leaving infant abortion victims to die went viral. In response, Senator Sasse promised to “force a debate” on protecting abortion survivors on the Senate floor and passionately remarked, “Everyone in this Senate ought to be able to say unequivocally that killing that little baby is wrong… This shouldn’t be complicated.”
Now, in the first month of the 117th Congress and weeks into an Administration that has already taken steps to put more preborn children’s lives at risk, Sen. Sasse has introduced his law to protect victims of abortion for a fourth time. If passed, the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act would require that infants born alive after botched abortion attempts are given the same degree of life-saving care that an infant born at the same gestational age would receive. The law also requires that the living baby be brought to a hospital for further medical attention.
Sen. Sasse said of reintroducing his bill:
Every baby deserves a fighting chance, whether she’s born in a state-of-the-art hospital or an abortion clinic in a strip mall. A decent society can’t turn its back on these babies because compassion, truth, and love still matter. This bill is really simple: it makes sure newborn babies who survive attempted abortions get the same care any other baby would.
We can all agree: every baby deserves our love. A week ago, President Biden stood on the Capitol steps and said ‘with unity we can do great things. Important things. We can right wrongs.’ Well, here’s a chance to do just that.
Abortion proponents have long-opposed Born Alive initiatives, arguing that the instances of babies being born living after butchered abortions are hypothetical or rare. But state reports from recent years tell a different and more tragic story. Since 2008, and reporting from only 5 states, over 100 babies were born alive while abortions were committed on them and their mothers. Four of the 27 instances of babies born alive over the years in Florida took place in 2020. The Centers for Disease Control has also reported at least 143 babies known to have survived abortions nationwide between 2003 and 2014. The CDC added that this number is likely “an underestimation.”
As Sen. Sasse said in 2015 when he first introduced the Born Alive Survivors Act, “If we can’t come together and agree that newborn babies deserve care, our talk about ‘human rights’ and ‘inherent dignity’ is empty.”
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