An effort in the U.S. Senate to require health care for a child born alive during an abortion fell victim to a Democratic member’s objection Monday evening (Feb. 4).
Sen. Patty Murray of Washington blocked approval of the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act (S. 130) when the proposal’s sponsor, Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska, asked the Senate for unanimous consent in support of the measure. Defeat of a unanimous consent agreement requires an objection from only one senator.
Though Murray was the only Democrat to object, many others in a party dedicated to abortion rights likely would have been willing to do so.
Sasse’s effort to gain passage of his bill is not dead. He also has initiated the process to bring his bill to the Senate floor for a roll-call vote.
Sasse announced his dual-track approach Jan. 31, a day after Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, expressed support for allowing babies to die if they survive abortion. Northam’s comments set off widespread protests from Sasse and many other pro-life advocates who charged the governor with defending infanticide.
Southern Baptist ethicist Russell Moore told Baptist Press, “If a baby is born alive after an attempted abortion, that precious child deserves legal protection and medical care, and the failure of the great deliberative body to say so unanimously is morally reprehensible.
“How seared must a conscience be to stand on the floor of the U.S. Senate and object to protecting living babies?” said Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, in written comments. “Children have intrinsic value that is defined not by their power nor by the whim of doctors, but by the image of God each one of them bears.
“I hope the Senate will move soon to take a roll-call vote on this bill in order for Americans to know where their elected officials stand on infanticide.”
Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, decried Murray’s action, saying in a written release, “The Democratic Party’s agenda of abortion on demand through birth and even beyond is radically out of step with the standards of decency the overwhelming majority of Americans expect from their leaders.”
The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act not only says a child who survives an abortion or attempted abortion is a “legal person” deserving protection, but it mandates a health-care provider give the same degree of care offered “any other baby born alive at the same gestational age.” Under the proposal, an infant who survives an abortion must be admitted to a hospital after the initial treatment. A violation of the measure could result in a fine and/or a prison sentence of as many as five years.
In seeking unanimous consent Feb. 4, Sasse told the Senate he was giving all 100 members “an opportunity to condemn infanticide.”
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Source: Baptist Press