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Senate fails to pass a bill protecting the lives of babies who survive abortions

Sen. Ben Sasse's "Born Alive" bill needed 60 votes

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) (Andrew Harnik - Pool/Getty Images)

Sen. Ben Sasse authored the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act with one goal in mind: To force lawmakers to go on the record about whether they support or oppose infanticide.

His bill, S. 311, aimed to ensure that "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 Senate failed to pass that bill Monday, by a vote of 53-44. It needed 60 votes to pass.

Three Democrats supported the bill (Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Bob Casey Jr. of Pennsylvania, and Doug Jones of Alabama). Three Republicans did not vote (Sens. Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Tim Scott of South Carolina).

According to National Review's Alexandra DeSanctis, Cramer and Scott both missed the votes due to flight delays. They were both listed as cosponsors on the bill.

The vote was preceded by intense debate on the Senate floor, during which Democrats falsely claimed that the bill contained language that would hinder women's health care.

For example, Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.) claimed that the bill "forces physicians to provide inappropriate medical treatment" and "puts Congress in the middle of the important medical decisions that patients and doctors should make together without political interference."

Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) also spoke against the bill.

In reality, all the plainly-worded bill requires is that an infant who survives an attempted abortion be treated like any other newborn and be taken to a hospital for medical treatment. Practitioners who failed to comply would've been subject to fines or imprisonment up to five years, or both.

The bill also took care not to punish the mother, protecting her from prosecution "for a violation of this section, an attempt to violate this section, [or] a conspiracy to violate this section."

"This isn't about restricting access to abortion," Sasse wrote in a Fox News op-ed Monday before the vote. "We're talking about making sure that newborn babies are treated with dignity and receive care whether they're born in the maternity wing or an abortion clinic. This is the bare minimum in humane treatment."

One last thing…
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