On Monday, February 25th, the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act failed to pass in the United States Senate. The bill was proposed by Senator Ben Sasse, and its purpose was “to prohibit a health care practitioner from failing to exercise the proper degree of care in the case of a child who survives an abortion or attempted abortion.” While the 2002 Born Alive Infants Protection Act stated that a child born alive after an abortion is legally a person, it did not include penalties for abortionists who violated the law.
Sasse’s bill would have empowered women to take legal action against abortionists who broke this law, and it would have entitled abortion survivors to be treated with “the same degree of professional skill, care, and diligence to preserve the life and health of the child as a reasonably diligent and conscientious health care practitioner would render to any other child born alive at the same gestational age.” But such a subjective standard has been applied to our definition of life that a bill ensuring these babies would receive medical care is seen as interfering with reproductive freedom.
Opponents of the bill, such as Democratic Senator Tammy Duckworth, declared the bill’s purpose was “to bully doctors out of giving care. To scare them out of business, one potential lawsuit or jail sentence at a time, making it even more difficult for women to get the care they need, when they need it most, as the number of physicians available shrinks.” While three democratic senators crossed the aisle to vote with Republicans in support of the bill— Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania and Doug Jones of Alabama— all 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls voted against the bill.
Planned Parenthood’s president, Leana Wen, also vocalized her opposition to the bill, stating it was “a direct attack on women’s rights.”
This legislation didn’t push for prosecution of the mother, nor did it limit abortion access. It was a straightforward piece of legislation that sought to protect babies that have already been born.
What does strengthening these protections have to do with threatening women’s health?
What is a threat to the health of women is the fact that in 19 states there is no protections for abortion survivors. The narrative pushed by the pro-choice side is that abortion allows a woman to shape her destiny, but what about Melissa Ohden? Ohden was fortunate to survive a saline abortion, but, based upon whether her birth was desired by her mother or not, abortion advocates will claim Ohden had no right to her own destiny.
What is alarming is the desire to protect abortion rights has led to denying the humanity of the most vulnerable among us, even after they’re born. To combat this argument, though, abortion advocates will attempt to deny the existence of abortion survivors. But between 2003 and 2014 alone, the Centers for Disease Control found at least 143 babies died after being born alive in botched abortions. There’s also a report in 2018 that Live Action News shared that indicated 16 infants in Florida were born alive after failed abortion attempts.
There’s also The Abortion Survivors Network, a group whose members are comprised of individuals who survived abortion. The group shared a government report from Canada from 2012 that found 491 children survived abortions from 2000-2009 on their website. Another report identifies 766 children survived abortions from 2013-2018. Reports from the UK and Australia concluded with similar results: survivors of abortion do indeed exist, and, just like the unborn, they are worthy of protection.
With the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act failing to pass, things may seem bleak for the pro-life cause, but there is still hope. Around 77% of Americans support legislation that ensures protection for babies that survive abortions. A recent Marist poll also found a shift in views on abortion after the kind of pro-abortion legislation we saw in New York, with more Americans identifying as pro-life.
Abortion destroys a human life, and we should be able to find unity when it comes to protecting life. Congress may have failed to do its job in terms of protecting the innocent, but the pro-life movement can still continue to promote a message of hope and love, thereby creating an abundance of life.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.