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Former Democratic VP nominee calls babies who survive abortions fetuses, says he opposes 'new requirements' for doctors who deliver them

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He also called an already born baby a 'fetus'

Alex Wong/Getty Images

In a letter to one of his constituents, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) spoke dismissively of a piece of legislation that would ensure medical care is provided for infants who were born alive after a failed abortion attempt. In the letter, he describes a baby that has already been born as a "fetus."

What bill?

On Jan. 31, Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) introduced the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act in the U.S. Senate.

Sasse brought forward this legislation after Kaine's fellow Virginia Democrat, Gov. Ralph Northam seemed to casually endorse infanticide in a radio interview on Jan. 30 while promoting a state-level late-term abortion bill.

During the interview, Northam described a situation in which a baby is born alive, resuscitated if necessary, and then doctors and the mother "have a discussion" about whether or not to kill it.

Sasse brought forward his legislation to create protections for children who were born alive despite an attempted abortion. This legislation does not put restrictions on abortion itself.

The bill was initially killed by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) when Sasse tried to use a parliamentary procedure to pass the bill by unanimous consent. Murray argued that the laws already existed so there was no point to passing the act. However, Sasse managed to revive the bill and it will be put up for a vote in the Senate on Monday.

What did Kaine say?

Kaine addressed this bill in a letter to one of his constituents. Although he did not explicitly say how he would vote, he spoke of the legislation dismissively. The text of this letter was first reported by National Review, which had obtained a copy of it.

"This bill would establish new requirements for health care practitioners in the case of a fetus who survives an abortion," he said, using the term fetus to refer to a baby that had already been born.

"I support the right of women to make their own health and reproductive decisions," he continued. "For that reason, I oppose efforts to weaken the basic holding of Roe v. Wade...[and oppose] restricting and criminalizing women's reproductive decisions."

As previously noted, and as the name of the legislation suggests, the bill Sasse is presenting does not actually limit abortion, and only affects babies who have been born alive.

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