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House Republicans hope to force a vote on an anti-infanticide bill


Reps. Scalise and Wagner will need 218 signatures from members of Congress for this to work

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Republicans in the House of Representatives are trying to force anti-infanticide legislation onto the floor.

Here's what you need to know

The Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act was introduced during the last session of Congress, while the GOP held a majority of seats. It was never put up for a vote.

The bill would expand on 2002's Born-Alive Infant's Protection Act, mandating immediate admission to a hospital in cases where an abortion attempt fails and a child is born alive. It also mandates a penalty, which could include both a fine and imprisonment, for anyone who violates that provision.

House Minority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Mo.) announced Wednesday that they planned to introduce what's known as a discharge petition in order to force the House to vote on this bill. The petition needs a simple majority of 218 of the 435 members of Congress to sign off on it to move it to the floor. This does not pass the bill, but it allows it to be put to a vote by the entire House instead of being stuck in a committee.

Republicans currently hold 198 seats in the House of Representatives, so even if Scalise and Wagner can get them all on board, 20 Democrats would have to vote to sign the petition in order for it to move forward.

What's the background?

This comes exactly a week after Virginia Gov Ralph Northam (D) seemed to casually endorse infanticide during a radio interview. While defending a late-term abortion bill, Northam presented a scenario where a baby could be born before doctors and the mother would "have a discussion" about whether or not to kill it.

During his State of the Union speech Tuesday night, President Donald Trump referred to Northam and called for Congress to "pass legislation to prohibit the late-term abortion of children who can feel pain in the mother's womb."

"Lawmakers in New York cheered with delight upon the passage of legislation that would allow a baby to be ripped from the mother's womb moments before birth," Trump said, referring to a third-trimester abortion bill that was recently signed into law by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D). "These are living, feeling, beautiful babies who will never get the chance to share their love and dreams with the world. And then, we had the case of the Governor of Virginia where he basically stated he would execute a baby after birth."

Something similar happened in the Senate. Democrats killed it.

On Jan. 31, pro-life Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) introduced the Senate version of this bill. Sasse asked that the bill be passed through unanimous consent. This allows a bill to move through at an expedited rate, as long as no senators object.

On Monday, Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) objected to the bill, effectively killing it. Murray said that laws against infanticide already existed, and that Sasse's proposal was a "gross misrepresentation."

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