The GOP-controlled House passed a bill Wednesday that requires medical professionals to take precautions to save infants delivered alive following an attempted abortion. This was one of the first acts the House took this session.
Democrats and pro-abortion organizations generally portrayed the legislation as an assault on women’s reproductive rights and unnecessary because it is already against the law to kill infants who are born alive. Republicans and their supporters defended the legislation as essential to ensuring that newborns receive life-saving care.
Rep. Henry Cuellar (TX), the lone Democrat who participated in the vote, backed the bill. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX) cast a “present” vote, and three Republicans chose not to cast a ballot, bringing the total score to 220-210. Republicans won the House, but the proposal is unlikely to advance very far in the Senate, which is controlled by Democrats.
The “Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act” mandates that medical professionals who fail to act in a way that would fairly “preserve the life and health of the child” following an attempted abortion as they would any infant face penalties or up to five years in prison. The bill also describes civil remedies for an abortion survivor’s mother.
According to Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life, “this logical legislation would safeguard a kid born alive after an abortion. This bill is not intended to restrict a purported right to abortion. Stopping infanticide is the goal. This measure needs to be passed by Congress right away to safeguard these helpless infants.
After years of work, Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO), who first proposed the law, rejoiced at its passage. She extolled the virtues of the law, saying it would “guarantee that every single infant born in the United States receives lifesaving medical treatment at their most vulnerable time.”
A resolution “condemning the recent attacks on pro-life facilities, groups, and churches” was also approved by the lower chamber on Wednesday.
Republicans have been criticized for “doubling down on their anti-choice radical ideas” and “forcing votes on measures that make it harder for Americans to obtain the treatment they need,” according to Mini Timmaraju, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America.
House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) referenced how the Supreme Court rejected Roe v. Wade this summer, leaving abortion restrictions up to the states when he said Wagner’s bill was a step in the direction of “criminalizing abortion treatment, a countrywide ban.”