Blog Post

House Votes to Protect Abortion Survivors

While the furor of the government shutdown was distracting the attention of most Americans, the U.S. House passed an important bill that will protect babies who are born alive after an abortion attempt.

According to the Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List), an organization dedicated to pursuing pro-life policies and electing pro-life candidates to office, the House passed the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act on Friday. This bill is intended to strengthen a law passed in 2002 that extended legal protection to infants born alive that was not being properly enforced.

The new bill, sponsored by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), requires that if an abortion results in the live birth of an infant, the infant is a legal person for all purposes under the law and is entitled to the protection of the law.

“Any infant born alive after an abortion or within a hospital, clinic, or other facility has the same claim to the protection of the law that would arise for any newborn, or for any person who comes to a hospital, clinic, or other facility for screening and treatment or otherwise becomes a patient within its care,” the law states.

Melissa Ohden, who survived a saline abortion in 1977, and SBA List’s National Campaign Chair Jill Stanek, a former nurse who witnessed late-term babies born alive during abortion procedures and left to die, were present for the vote.

“Horrific crimes are taking place in abortion facilities around the country. Children born alive are denied medical care and left to die – cold, alone, abandoned and discarded like medical waste,” said Stanek. “This is infanticide, plain and simple. Everyone should be able to agree on equal protection under the law for these children.”

Not surprisingly, the abortion industry reacted with scorn after news broke of the passage of the bill.

“This bill is unnecessary and is full of inflammatory language intentionally designed to politicize the provision of health care,” said Dana Singiser, Vice President of Public Policy and Government Relations for Planned Parenthood in a statement.

“Planned parenthood physicians provide high-quality medical care and adhere to the most rigorous professional standards, including providing emergency care. The political agenda here is clear: to take away access to safe, legal abortion. Time and time again, the American people have rejected these blatantly political attacks on women’s health care. Instead of attacking women’s health, Congress needs to listen to the American people and invest in women and families.”

Congress has been listening to the American people. Ms. Singiser is apparently unaware of polls which find overwhelming support of restrictions on abortion beyond the fifth month.

In fact, SBA list just published a new poll taken this fall which found that two-thirds of all voters (62%) support prohibiting abortion after five months of pregnancy. This includes 66 percent of Independent women, 58 percent of college-educated women, nearly half of all Democrats (48%) and a majority (58%) of moderates and undecided voters.

Far from being an outlier, similar results have been found in a variety of polls such as NBC/Wall Street Journal , the Huffington Post, Marist, and Washington Post/ABC News.

“Justice and compassion took a great leap forward today,” said SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser. “We thank Leader McCarthy and our allies in the House for holding a timely vote on this crucial bill, as hundreds of thousands of pro-life Americans rally at Congress’ doorstep. We urge the Senate follow their colleagues’ lead and pass the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act as well as the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would end cruel late-term abortions after five months of pregnancy.”

Perhaps some of the cruelest examples of this barbaric practice were uncovered in 2013 during the trial of West Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell who was convicted of murdering three infants who were born alive after abortions by severing their spinal cords with a scissor.

Kristen Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, called the new legislation the bare minimum that a humane society should offer to newborns.

“It should be obvious that a baby, born and alive outside of the womb, should receive medical care if he or she needs it,” Hawkins said. “Adding criminal penalties for the so-called medical professionals who stand there and allow a baby to die is absolutely appropriate, especially when you consider that they have the skills to aid the struggling young infant.”

She added that it is “tragic that such a law is needed at all.”

The bill now heads to the Senate.

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