According to Politico, on Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called for the Senate to vote on both the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act and the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act when they reconvene after their President’s Day recess.
The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (S. 3275) would ban abortion after 20 weeks when it is generally believed that preborn children can feel pain, though one study has concluded that the ability to feel pain occurs as early as eight weeks in pregnancy, and another found that starting at 13 weeks, pain capability is almost certain. The same measure failed in 2018 with two Democratic senators voting in favor of the ban: Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.). Two Republican senators, Lisa Murkowski (D-AK) and Susan Collins (R-ME), voted against the 2018 ban.
The second bill, The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act (S. 311), would ensure that medical assistance is given to babies who accidentally survive abortions, and penalizes abortionists who allow newborn abortion survivors to die rather than provide medical care. It would also require abortionists to ensure that abortion survivors are transported to nearby hospitals, and require that any violations of the act be reported to authorities. Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) is the bill’s lead sponsor.
“We’re not talking about some euphemism,” Sasse said during a hearing on the bill last week. “We’re not talking about a clump of cells. We’re talking about a little baby girl who’s been born and is on a table in a hospital or a medical facility, and then a decision or a debate would be had about whether or not you could kill that little baby.”
In other words, the bill does not restrict abortion in any way. As National Review’s Alexandra DeSanctis noted:
While its opponents tend to refer to it as “anti-abortion” legislation, the born-alive bill doesn’t regulate or limit abortion in any way; it merely requires doctors to give “the same degree” of care to abortion survivors that “any other child born alive at the same gestational age” would receive if delivered at that stage of pregnancy.
Opponents of the bill claim that the 2002 Born Alive Infants Protection Act already protects abortion survivors; however, it does not actually provide any penalties for abortionists who ignore the law — like one abortionist, featured in Live Action’s InHuman investigation, who said he would offer no assistance to an abortion survivor:
The United States is one of just seven countries that allows abortion until birth. Sixty senators must vote to end debate on a bill, which would allow the Senate to vote on the bill itself. There is currently no scheduled vote for these bills, but steps toward the votes are likely to be taken as early as next week.
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