On the Senate floor this afternoon, Senator Ben Sasse (R., Neb.) set the record straight about his legislation, the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, which the Senate will vote on later today.
Before Sasse spoke, Democratic senator Dick Durbin (D., Ill.) came to the floor to propose a Medicaid expansion supported by Democrats, insisting that Republicans were pushing “anti-abortion” legislation while refusing to accept any measures that would help women in need.
Sasse, the lead sponsor of the born-alive bill — which does not limit abortion access but rather requires doctors to provide standard medical care to newborn infants who survive abortion procedures — responded to Durbin on the floor, saying that the Democrat had “obscured” the debate by claiming that it is over “funding maternal health or having anti-abortion legislation.”
“The piece of legislation we’re voting on today, the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, is not about abortion,” Sasse said. “The bill we’re voting on doesn’t change anyone’s access to abortion. It doesn’t have anything to do with Roe v. Wade. It is about babies that are already born.”
Sasse noted, too, that CNN reporting this morning described the legislation as having to do with “a fetus that has been born.”
“What the heck is that? It’s another way of saying they don’t want to debate the actual debate we’re having on the floor today,” Sasse said, noting once again that his bill deals with “babies that are born that are outside their mother,” not fetuses.
“What’s actually happening,” he added, “is the senior senator from Illinois is wanting to obscure the debate, because he wants to use euphemisms about choice so you don’t have to admit to the American public that what’s happening on the floor today is probably that, like last year, 44 Democrats are going to filibuster an anti-infanticide bill.”
Sasse was referring to the fact that, when the born-alive bill came up for a Senate vote almost exactly one year ago, 44 Democrats blocked the legislation, claiming it was unnecessary and restricted abortion.
“There’s nothing in the bill that’s about abortion. Nothing,” Sasse said today. “It’s about infanticide. That’s the actual legislation. And you’ve got 44 people over there who want to hide from it and talk in euphemisms about abortion because they don’t want to defend the indefensible, because you can’t defend the indefensible.”
In response to Durbin’s Medicaid expansion proposal, Sasse offered to support an amendment from Senator Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) adding more than $2 billion to existing programs to combat maternal mortality. He also noted that Durbin ought to back the born-alive bill, which protects living infants and doesn’t affect women’s health care. Durbin refused on both counts.
“We’re talking about killing babies that are born,” Sasse said on the floor. “That’s the actual legislation we’re voting on today in the Senate. That’s what the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act is. Is it okay in the eyes of the United States Senate for us to say, ‘Well you can’t actively kill the little baby, you can’t take a pillow and put it over her face and smother her to death, but you can back away and kill her that way.’”