A group of Republican senators introduced a bill this week to require states to collect and publish more comprehensive data about abortion, particularly instances in which a failed abortion results in a baby being born alive, according to National Review.
Sens. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) are the lead sponsors of the Ensuring Accurate and Complete Abortion Data Reporting Act of 2019. The bill seeks to improve the quality of information available about abortion so that the debate on the issue is more fact-driven.
Right now, only a small number of states require abortion providers to report failed abortions.
"The American people deserve to know how many babies are born alive during abortion attempts in our country," Cotton told National Review. "This is life-or-death information, yet most states don't collect it. Our bill would require states to report accurate and complete data about abortion, including instances where babies are born alive during abortions."
A previous abortion-related Republican bill, the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, serves as a recent example of the impact data can have on the abortion debate. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) simply called for medical professionals to be required to provide treatment to babies born alive in failed abortions.
Democrats have refused to support the bill, claiming that it addresses a scenario that does not occur and therefore is unnecessary.
National Review's Alexandria DeSanctis wrote:
In voting against the bill, Democratic senators repeatedly insisted that no such thing ever happens.
But thanks to data from the few states to require reporting, along with eyewitness accounts from former abortion providers, we know that it does. This new bill would improve our understanding of how often it happens, by mandating the thorough collection of data on born-alive infants from all 50 states.
"Americans expect accurate and comprehensive data about public health and medicine, especially when taxpayer funds are being used to support procedures like abortion," Tom Shakely, chief engagement officer at Americans United for Life, told National Review. "Abortion-promoting states shouldn't be entitled to receive tax funds for abortion on the one hand, and then on the other refuse to track the most basic information about the outcomes of those abortions."
The bill, however, is sponsored by only Republicans at the moment. And if past situations are any indication, Democrats may be reluctant to sign on to any Republican-led initiatives related to abortion.