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Commentary: Born-Alive bill failure shows the deadly consequences of 'team sports' politics

We can't keep putting party affiliation over morality and common sense

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

A bill that would've protected the lives of babies who survived abortions failed to pass the Senate on Monday, and to my knowledge, not one of the 44 senators who voted against it made an argument that had anything to do with the actual legislation.

The Democrats who took to the Senate floor to oppose Sen. Ben Sasse's (R-Neb.) Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act had either not read the bill or read it and decided they had to lie about it in order to justify their votes.

Before we go any further, let's take just a few minutes to do what far too few lawmakers and voters did: READ THE BILL. It's not very long.

If you read, you'll notice the bill did not:

  • Say anything about whether abortion is right or wrong
  • Say anything about whether abortion should be legal
  • Say anything about how late into a pregnancy a woman should be able to get an abortion

The bill did quite the opposite. Its very premise carried the assumption of a woman's access to legal abortion, and attempted to address what to do if for some reason that legal abortion results in the child being born alive.

All it would have required is that the abortion provider (1) not try to kill the baby that had just been born, and (2) get that baby to a hospital to receive medical care. It even makes it clear that the mother is not to be punished, regardless of how the abortion plays out.

And, as a reminder, we are only even having this discussion because states are trying to allow for abortions later and later into pregnancy, increasing the likelihood that a botched abortion could result in a viable fetus being born and needing immediate care to survive.

So, to be clear, opponents to this bill are saying that the medical practitioner performing the abortion should be allowed to finish the job of killing the baby even if it is somehow born alive, either by an active method or by passively allowing it to die from lack of medical treatment.

As much as I wish it was, this is not hyperbole. It's clear within the language of the bill.

The problem is, none of the bill's opponents were willing to discuss the bill for what it was. Instead, they hid behind generic and unrelated talking points about women's right to healthcare and government interference into a woman's choice. None of that is in the bill.

That elected officials were willing to go along with this charade and kill a reasonable and useful bill based on verifiably false arguments shows how far the "team sports" mentality of our politics has gone out of control.

A Republican senator authored a bill loosely related to abortion. The Democratic "team" stance is to oppose anything a Republican says about abortion.

So, the reflexive response from all but three Democratic senators was to take a stance first, then build the justification for that stance after the fact.

That's why the arguments against the Born-Alive bill don't make any sense. Because Democratic opponents quickly realized that there was no way to oppose the actual text of that bill without appearing to advocate for an abortion provider's right to kill a baby or let it die after it is born. So they changed the subject.

Democratic constituents ate it up. Because, as I mentioned before, most people won't read the actual text of any bill, when they see one of the lawmakers on their "team" saying something, and it doesn't violate their worldview, they'll just take it at face value.

And that's the story of how a bill that only sought to give the legal right to survival to babies that survive abortions got voted down as an attack on women's healthcare.

Most citizens will never sit down and read bills. They trust the lawmakers they elect to represent them to do that for them. When those lawmakers decide to so drastically mislead the people in the name of team-sports politics, with life and death literally in the balance, we see our nation crossing lines that we never could have imagined.

One last thing…
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