In response to an alarming number of state assemblies pursuing legislation to massively curtail abortion regulations, Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) last week introduced an anti-infanticide bill to protect infants born after a failed abortion.
On Monday, the bill did not pass.
What are the details?
The bill, known as the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, sought to declare that any child born after an abortion "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."
"If an abortion results in the live birth of an infant, the infant is a legal person for all purposes under the laws of the United States, and entitled to all the protections of such laws," the bill states.
Sasse introduced the bill last Thursday in response to comments made by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D), who, during a radio interview, appeared to endorse infanticide. Sasse requested the bill be passed by unanimous consent, a parliamentary procedure that allows legislative passage so long as a voting member does not voice objection.
Unfortunately, one senator voiced objection — effectively killing the bill.
That lawmaker, Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), claimed laws against infanticide already exist.
"This is a gross misinterpretation of the actual language of the bill that is being asked to be considered and therefore I object," she said, according to the Washington Times.
The bill had 40 GOP co-sponsors. No Democrats supported it.
What was the reaction to Murray's decision?
Republicans were furious.
Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), said, according to LifeSiteNews:
There is nothing great, there is nothing moral, or even humane about the discussion that we have before us today. Over the past week, we have witnessed the absolutely ugly truth about the far-reaching grasp of the abortion industry and its increasingly radicalized political agenda. Politicians have not only defended aborting a child while a woman is in labor, but have gone so far as to support the termination of a child after his or her birth. A child. A baby. Rationality, decency, and basic human compassion have fallen by the wayside.
Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said: "It's harrowing that this legislation is even necessary. It was even more disturbing when last week, a Democrat Governor was unable to simply state that of course – of course – these newborn babies have human rights that must be respected."
Fortunately, there is still hope the bill can become law at a later date. McConnell can force a roll call vote, which could require each senator to make a definitive decision about the bill.
Is Murray correct? Do laws like Sasse's already exist?
In 2002, Congress passed the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, and then-President George W. Bush signed it into law. The law protects infants born alive after a failed abortion.
For the purposes of the law, it declared protection for "every infant member of the species homo sapiens who is born alive at any stage of development," defining born alive as "complete expulsion" from the mother "at any stage of development, who after such expulsion or extraction breathes or has a beating heart, pulsation of the umbilical cord, or definite movement of voluntary muscles, regardless of whether the umbilical cord has been cut, and regardless of whether the expulsion or extraction occurs as a result of natural or induced labor, cesarean section, or induced abortion."
The key difference is that Sasse's proposed bill requires a certain level of care for the infants born alive after a failed abortion, including "immediate admission" to the hospital with full extension of patient rights.
The bill stipulates that violations would result in a fine and a maximum of five years in prison. However, the bill mandates murder charges for "whoever intentionally performs or attempts to perform an overt act that kills a child born alive."