The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act is back for a third time.
The bill, which would provide criminal penalties for doctors who neglect to care for a baby born alive during an abortion procedure who then dies because of that neglect, had previously failed to pass in 2017 and 2019.
It’ll probably be consigned to the same fate this time, given that Democrats have filibuster power in the Senate and control the House.
That being said, it’s curious — and sad — to hear just what it is they’re voting against.
“Let’s not lose sight of what we’re talking about today. We’re talking about babies,” Nebraska GOP Sen. Ben Sasse, the bill’s lead sponsor, said at a Tuesday Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the bill, according to The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Sasse said the issue wasn’t challenging the legitimacy of Roe v. Wade but instead protecting children “born alive, surviving a botched abortion attempt.”
While critics contend that such situations are so rare as to be virtually unheard of, testimony provided to the committee Tuesday painted a far different picture.
Jill Stanek, a former nurse at Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn, Illinois, told the committee the hospital had a “comfort room” for babies born alive after abortion attempts to die in.
These babies were the result of a “live-birth abortion.” According to Stanek’s testimony, the “goal is simply to cause a pregnant mother’s cervix to open so that she will prematurely deliver a baby who dies during the birth process or soon afterward.
“In the event a baby was aborted alive, he or she received no medical assessments or care but was only given what my hospital called ‘comfort care,'” Stanek said.
Stanek described, in harrowing detail, rocking a baby with Down syndrome between 21 and 22 weeks old in her arms as he died post-abortion.
These births weren’t uncommon occurrences, she said.
“Christ Hospital readily admitted babies there survived abortions. A spokesman told the Chicago Sun-Times … ‘between 10 percent and 20 percent’ of aborted babies ‘survive for short periods,'” she said.
“From what I observed, it was not uncommon for a live aborted baby to linger for an hour or two or even longer. One abortion survivor I was aware of lived for almost eight hours.
“Of 16 babies Christ Hospital aborted during the year 2000, I four that I knew of were aborted alive,” she continued. “Each of those babies — two boys and two girls — lived between one-and-a-half and three hours. One baby was 28 weeks’ gestation — 7 months old — and weighed two pounds, seven ounces.”
Stanek’s testimony is similar to that she gave before Congress last year:
“If they were aborted alive, they were allowed to die without any medical care or intervention whatsoever.” pic.twitter.com/wrcj3KsBWS
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) September 16, 2019
Most Democrats were unmoved then, claiming that provisions for care for children born alive during an abortion procedure already existed.
And there’s absolutely no reason to believe their views have shifted since then.
“We have laws against infanticide in this country,” Sen. Patty Murray, a Democrat from Washington state, said during the debate on the Senate floor last year. “This is a gross misinterpretation of the actual language of the bill that is being asked to be considered, and therefore I object.”
“But in fact, there is no existing federal law that requires doctors to provide medical care for infants who survive an abortion procedure,” National Review’s Alexandra DeSanctis wrote on Monday. “The Born-Alive Infants Protection Act (BAIPA) of 2002 established that the terms ‘person,’ ‘human being,’ ‘child,’ and ‘individual’ in federal law include every infant born alive, even after an abortion; it instituted no penalties for physicians who neglect to care for such infants.”
Last year’s debate had been held in the aftermath of Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s controversial remarks regarding babies born alive after an abortion procedure.
“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 Democrat said in a January interview.
The governor’s comments quickly got lost in a blackface scandal which quickly got lost in the ether, too. In the wake of Northam’s remarks about babies born alive, however, Sasse made it an impetus to reintroduce the bill from 2017.
“We’re not talking about some euphemism,” Sasse said in 2019. “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.”
While the bill is most notable for introducing criminal penalties for doctors who let newborn babies die due to a lack of medical care after they survived a botched abortion, it also stipulates that the child must be transported to hospital, mandates penalties for the intentional killing of a newborn and requires violations to be reported by health-care practitioners.
The bill failed last year when Sasse sought unanimous consent and was shot down.
This time, the situation seems to be following a more traditional legislative path. It’s still unlikely to pass because apparently, this all represents a bridge too far for Democrats.
That ought to be telling.
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