The Corner

Politics & Policy

Senate Fails to Pass Born-Alive Bill

(Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

By a vote of 53-44, the Senate has failed to pass the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, which would have required doctors to provide medical care to infants born alive after an attempted abortion procedure. The bill — sponsored by Senator Ben Sasse (R., Neb.) and cosponsored by 49 of his fellow Republican senators — needed 60 votes to overcome the legislative filibuster.

Just three Democratic senators crossed the aisle to vote with Republicans in favor of the legislation: Bob Casey Jr. (Pa.), Joe Manchin (W.Va.), and Doug Jones (Ala.).

All six of the Democratic senators currently running for the 2020 presidential nomination voted against the bill: Cory Booker (N.J.), Sherrod Brown (Ohio), Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Kamala Harris (Calif.), Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), and Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), along with Independent Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

Three Republican senators did not vote on the bill: Kevin Cramer (N.D.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), and Tim Scott (S.C.). According to their communications directors, both Cramer and Scott missed the vote due to flight delays.

During the floor debate over the bill this afternoon, several Democratic senators said they planned to oppose the legislation because they believe it limits women’s health-care options. “That is the actual intent of this bill, reducing access to safe abortion care would threaten the health of women in Hawaii,” said Mazie Hirono (D., Hawaii).

“This bill is just another line of attack in the ongoing war on women’s health,” said Jeanne Shaheen (D., N.H.).

Tina Smith, Democrat of Minnesota, said the born-alive bill “would override physicians’ professional judgment about what is best for their patients, and it would put physicians in the position of facing criminal penalties if their judgment about what is best for their patient is contrary to what is described in this bill.”

But nothing in the legislation forces doctors to provide any particular treatment to infants; it merely requires that they provide medical treatment. It mandates that doctors “exercise the same degree of professional skill, care, and diligence to preserve the life and health of the child as a reasonably diligent and conscientious health care practitioner would render to any other child born alive at the same gestational age.”

In other words, the born-alive bill would’ve done nothing more than insist that health-care providers treat children born alive after attempted abortions the same way that they’d treat any other infant.

Several Republican senators pushed back against the Democrats’ efforts to portray the bill as an attack on women’s health care. “I know a lot of opponents of this bill sincerely believe the talking points that they read from their staffs,” Sasse said. “We’ve heard speech after speech after speech that have nothing to do with what’s actually in this bill.”

“My colleagues across the aisle are debating a bill that’s not in front of us. They are talking about health care for women, which is abortion,” said Joni Ernst (R., Iowa). “This bill does not address abortion. . . . What this bill does is address the health care of a baby that is born alive after a botched abortion. We’re not talking about abortion, folks. We’re talking about the life of a child that is born.”

“I urge my colleagues to picture a baby that’s already been born, that’s outside the womb gasping for air,” Sasse added. “That’s the only thing that today’s vote is actually about. We’re talking about babies that have already been born. Nothing in this bill touches abortion access.”

Editor’s note: This post will be updated with details from the vote and from today’s floor debate as they become available.

Something to Consider

If you enjoyed this article, we have a proposition for you: Join NRPLUS. Members get all of our content (including the magazine), no paywalls or content meters, an advertising-minimal experience, and unique access to our writers and editors (conference calls, social-media groups, etc.). And importantly, NRPLUS members help keep NR going. Consider it?

If you enjoyed this article, and were stimulated by its contents, we have a proposition for you: Join NRPLUS.

LEARN MORE

Most Popular

Economy & Business

Who Owns FedEx?

You may have seen (or heard on a podcast) that Fred Smith so vehemently objects to the New York Times report contending that FedEx paid nothing in federal taxes that he's challenged New York Times publisher A. G. Sulzberger to a public debate and pointed out that "the New York Times paid zero federal income tax ... Read More
Immigration

The ‘Welfare Magnet’ for Immigrants

That term refers to a controversial concept -- and a salient one, given the Trump administration's efforts to make it harder for immigrants to use welfare in the U.S. A new study finds that there's something to it: Immigrants were more likely to come to Denmark when they could get more welfare there. From the ... Read More
Sports

The Kaepernick Saga Drags On . . . off the Field

Colin Kaepernick’s workout for NFL teams in Atlanta this weekend did not run smoothly. The league announced an invitation to scouts from every team to watch Kaepernick work out and demonstrate that he was still ready to play. (As noted last week, the workout is oddly timed; the NFL season is just a bit past its ... Read More