Pro-Life Group Urges Members of Congress to Allow Vote on Born Alive Bill to Stop Infanticide

National   Steven Ertelt   Mar 27, 2019   |   12:41PM    Washington, DC

A leading pro-life organization is urging members of Congress to defy Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Democratic leaders and support a vote to stop infanticide. Pelosi and top Democrats have repeatedly blocked a vote on the born alive bill to protect babies who survive abortions — a total of 21 times.

Yesterday was the 23rd time in total that Congressional Democrats thwarted an attempt by Republicans to vote on a bill that would provide medical care and treatment for babies who provide survived failed abortions — 21 times in the House and twice in the Senate.

As a response to that, House Republicans are pushing forward with a discharge petition that would put the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act on the House floor for an immediate vote. That’s a petition any member of Congress can sign to allow legislation to move out of committee and to the House floor when the party controlling Congress refuses to allow a vote on it.

Today, leaders of the National Right to Life Committee sent a letter urging every member of Congress to sign on to the petition. The text of the letter follows:

Dear Representative:

House Republican Whip Steve Scalise has indicated that a discharge petition for the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act (H.R. 962, sponsored by Rep. Ann Wagner) will be filed on April 2nd, during that day’s first vote series. If the petition is signed by a majority of House members, it will force a vote on the House floor. If enacted, the bill would extend federal legal protection to babies who are born alive during an abortion.

The National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), the nationwide federation of state right-to-life organizations, strongly urges you to sign the discharge petition.

In light of the radical trend that started with the signing of the Reproductive Health Act by Governor Andrew Cuomo in New York, allowing abortion through all stages of pregnancy and removing explicit protections for babies born alive during an abortion, there is renewed urgency to pass the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act.

In 2002, Congress approved, without a dissenting vote, the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act (BAIPA), subsequently signed into law by President George W. Bush and codified as 1 U.S.C. §8. This important law states that “every infant member of the species homo sapiens who is born alive at any stage of development” is a “person” for all federal law purposes. The bill defines “born alive” in terms of explicit criteria – “complete expulsion from his or her mother . . . at any stage of development, who after such expulsion or extraction breathes or has a beating heart, pulsation of the umbilical cord, or definite movement of voluntary muscles, regardless of whether the umbilical cord has been cut, and regardless of whether the expulsion or extraction occurs as a result of natural or induced labor, cesarean section, or induced abortion.”

The BAIPA was a response to troubling indications, well summarized in the House Judiciary Committee’s excellent 2001 report on the legislation, that some abortion providers and pro-abortion activists did not regard infants born alive during abortion procedures as legal persons – especially if the infants were deemed to be “pre-viable” (i.e., have limited life expectancy due to prematurity). Such a mindset puts a substantial number of live-born infant persons in jeopardy of gross neglect or overt violence. Live birth, as defined in 1 U.S.C. §8, may occur a month before “viability.” BAIPA made it crystal clear that life expectancy is entirely irrelevant for purposes of legal personhood.

SIGN THE PETITION: Stop Infanticide! Stop Abortions Up to Birth!

However, in the years since 1 U.S.C. §8 was enacted, evidences have multiplied that some abortion providers do not regard babies born alive during abortions as persons, and do not provide them with the types of care that would be provided to premature infants who are born spontaneously. In some cases, such born-alive infants are even subjected to overt acts of deadly violence. In 2013, Dr. Kermit Gosnell of Philadelphia was convicted under state law of multiple homicides of such born-alive infants, but such a prosecution and conviction is uncommon. In some jurisdictions, local authorities seem reluctant to investigate reports of infants born alive during abortions, or to bring appropriate indictments even in cases in which the publicly reported evidence of gross neglect or overt lethal acts seems strong.

Public concern was further heightened by a series of hidden-camera videos released by the Center for Medical Progress, in which various persons described events and practices within certain abortion clinics that, at the very least, raise questions about whether it is generally recognized among abortion-clinic personnel that a born-alive baby is a legal “person,” whether before or after “viability.” Other passages raise similar questions regarding some persons who operate firms that obtain and sell baby body parts, obtained from abortion clinics.

National Right to Life believes that it is time for Congress to act decisively to put the entire abortion industry on notice that when they treat a born-alive human person as medical waste, as a source for organ harvesting, or as a creature who may be subjected to lethal violence with impunity, they will do so at grave legal peril.

H.R. 962 would enact an explicit requirement that a baby born alive during an abortion must be afforded “the same degree” of care that would apply “to any other child born alive at the same gestational age,” including transportation to a hospital. This language does not dictate bona fide medical judgments nor require futile measures, but rather, requires that babies born alive during abortions are treated in the same manner as those who are spontaneously born prematurely.

In addition, the bill applies the existing penalties of 18 U.S.C. Sec. 1111 (the federal murder statute) to anyone who performs “an overt act that kills a child born alive.” This would apply, for example, to an abortion clinic staff person who dissects a breathing born-alive infant in order to harvest an intact liver, or to an abortionist who ends a born-alive baby’s whimpers with a sharp blow to the skull, or by snipping the spine.

The bill provides a civil cause of action to women who are harmed by violations of the act.

Upon being signed by a majority of members of the House, the discharge petition will force a vote on the Born Alive Act on the House Floor. April 2 is the first day the petition would be eligible to be executed on the House floor and, if they have enough signatures, pro-life members of Congress will push ahead with it.

“As Speaker Pelosi refuses to allow a vote on this legislation to defend and protect innocent life, we are taking matters into our own hands. This effort is not just about going on the record, it’s about taking concrete action to end infanticide,” said Whip Scalise. “Legislation to protect babies born alive during an abortion is supported by over seventy percent of voters of all parties, including Democrats and independents. Rep. Wagner’s Born Alive Act is a truly bipartisan bill that deserves a vote on the House floor. The American people deserve to know where their representatives stand on this issue of life or death.”

With all 197 Republicans signing they would need 21 Democrats to join. Democrat Representatives Henry Cuellar (D-Tex.), Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.), and Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) have already co-sponsored the underlying bill but they would need to be joined by another 18 Democrat lawmakers — most of whom would be abortion supporters.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, a leading House member, discussed the discharge petition in a recent interview with the Daily Signal.

“It’s just heartbreaking. I was disheartened by the vote, 44 senators that voted against legislation that would protect babies who were born alive, babies that had survived an abortion, were outside the womb, and yet they were not willing to bring in the insurer under law that they would bring in the doctor’s care,” she said. “In years past, this is passed with unanimous consent in the Senate. So it really exposed the extreme position that the left is taking right now, that Democrats are saying they reject legislation to protect babies born alive.”

“In the House, we are moving forward with a discharge petition. As you know, the Democrats have the majority in the House. One way that we can bring a bill to the floor is to demand a discharge petition,” she added. “You have to get 218 people to sign a discharge petition, and then you can bypass Speaker Nancy Pelosi and bring the bill directly to the floor. We’re working actively on that right now.”

The blocking of a vote on a bill to stop infanticide come even as national polling shows Americans — including people who are “pro-choice” on abortion — oppose abortion up to birth and infanticide. And doctors indicate abortions are never needed to protect a woman’s health and women admit having abortions on healthy babies.

And a new poll finds a massive 17 percent shift in the pro-life direction after Democrats have pushed abortions up to birth and infanticide nationally.

H.R. 962, introduced by Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO), ensures that a baby born alive after a failed or attempted abortion receives the same medical care as any other newborn. It would also penalize doctors who allow such infants to die or who intentionally kill a newborn following a failed abortion.

Every single Democrat in the Senate who is running for president voted against a bill that would stop infanticide and provide medical care and treatment for babies who are born alive after botched abortions. That includes Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Amy Klobuchar.

While they all voted to support infanticide, President Trump spoke out against infanticide in two tweets saying that it’s nothing short of “executing” babies to let them die after failed abortions.

ACTION: Contact members of Congress and urge them to sign the Discharge Petition to bring the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act to the House floor for a vote.