Republican lawmakers said Tuesday that they are hopeful that a new president and a Republican majority in Congress will present an opportunity to pass the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act.
The legislation would require that newborns who survive abortion attempts be provided with appropriate medical care.
The legislation — which had previously been introduced in Congress — has largely been considered dead on arrival for the last eight years. Former President Barack Obama maintained that he would veto the legislation throughout his time in office should it reach his desk. He killed similar legislation as an Illinois state legislator.
Despite Obama’s veto threat, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the legislation during the previous Congress in a bipartisan 248-177 vote.
Now some lawmakers are hopeful that the Trump administration could provide a new opportunity for the bill.
Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) reintroduced the bill in the Senate Tuesday.
“Every baby deserves care and the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act is a rare opportunity to find common ground and protect newborns,” Sasse said in a statement, adding:
We all know that every little boy and girl deserves a fighting chance and, if you’ve ever held a newborn or just walked past a NICU, you know this has nothing to do with your politics and everything to do with your heart. I’m grateful that the House passed this legislation last Congress and I look forward to working with my Senate colleagues to put this on the President’s desk this Congress.”
Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) reintroduced the bill in the House of Representatives.
“I’ve introduced every pro-life effort you can think of,” Franks said at a panel discussion in Washington Friday. “And I say this without overemphasizing it but because I believe it’s true: I believe this is the most important bill I have ever had the privilege to introduce.”
The Arizona Republican said that he believes the bill will pass — should it be brought up for a vote — because “it’s a new day in America.”
“I have to just be very open, I wasn’t a Trump guy during the primary because he wasn’t always with us on this issue as you know,” Franks said. “But I see everything that he’s done, this change has gone in the right direction — and maybe he’s the only guy that might have been able to win this last general election.”
Trump — who once called himself “pro-choice in every respect” and who made a series of conflicting statements on abortion during his campaign — reinstated the so-called “Mexico City policy” among his first executive orders. The policy bans foreign aid from going to nongovernmental organizations that promote or pay for abortion procedures.
“Now, maybe we have a chance,” Franks said.
Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) echoed Franks’ optimism about passing the bill at the panel discussion and defended it from its critics.
“We want to look at both people,” Lankford said of both a mother and her unborn child. “They both have great value.”
Some opponents of the legislation claim that it seeks to interfere with a woman’s decision to have an abortion.