Today, the Senate is set to vote on two pro-life bills widely supported by the American public—but that’s not the story radical pro-abortion activists are telling.
Both the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act and the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act enjoy widespread support with Americans across the political spectrum. But in Congress, where radical (and well-funded) pro-abortion actors like Planned Parenthood and NARAL have a stranglehold on the left, these perfectly reasonable bills are met with fierce opposition. Why?
Here’s what you need to know about the two bills.
1. Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act
The act would protect women and unborn children from gruesome late-term abortions performed after 20 weeks. The U.S. is one of only seven countries in the world that allows elective abortion past 20 weeks (5 months), alongside countries like China and North Korea. Scientific evidence suggests that by 20 weeks, a baby is capable of feeling excruciating pain during an abortion procedure.
At the state level, over a dozen states across the country have enacted 20-week bills. Congress is overdue to pass the bill at the federal level.
2. Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act
It is a matter of public record, both in the United States and abroad, that some babies are born alive following attempted abortions. Because current law is insufficient to protect them, these infants are left vulnerable to neglect that can cause their deaths—deaths that may have been preventable with adequate emergency care.
In 2002, President George W. Bush signed legislation that extended legal protection to infants born alive at any stage of development, including after an abortion. However, the 2002 law did not contain enforcement provisions.
The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act augments current law by including criminal consequences for health care providers who violate the law, and it requires that proper medical care be given by the health care practitioner present if an infant is born alive. Treating a baby born after an attempted abortion with the same care provided to any other newborn should not be controversial in a civilized society.
These Bills Should Not Be Controversial
Knowing that the vast majority of Americans support federal abortion policy that is far more restrictive than the status quo, you would think that Congress could agree that the Pain-Capable bill would be a practical policy to reflect our nationwide consensus. But every time the bill has received a vote in the Senate, it has failed to amass the 60 votes necessary to proceed.
Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and other radical pro-abortion activists have spent many years establishing clout—politically and financially—on the left, and are unwilling to entertain even the slightest on late-term elective abortion. And the politicians beholden to them fall in line.
But what about the Born-Alive bill? Despite erroneous characterizations in the mainstream media, it isn’t even an “abortion bill.” It’s a bill that establishes that a living newborn baby who has survived an attempt on her life in the womb must be treated with appropriate medical care.
Critics tend to fall back on two main arguments: first, that such scenarios don’t happen, and second, that current law sufficiently protects these newborns. And critics are wrong on both counts.
State and federal data acknowledges hundreds of such instances (that we know of). And while federal law acknowledges that infants who survive an abortion are “persons,” it contains no requirement that they receive care.
Furthermore, instances of abortionists like Kermit Gosnell are distinguishable from the issue at hand in the Born-Alive bill. Gosnell was convicted for actively killing newborns, not for failing to provide medical treatment to newborns. The Born-Alive bill addresses the act of passively “doing nothing” and allowing babies to die.
In any case, the abortion industry and its allies cannot allow the left to support the Born-Alive bill. Doing so would acknowledge the humanity of the unborn child, and present abortion for what it is: the intentional destruction of human life.
Senators will go on the record in support or opposition of two different policies. In doing so, they’ll be forced to answer two questions. First, are you willing to draw the line at elective late-term abortion? And second—especially if the answer to the first question was “no”—are you willing to draw the line anywhere?
America’s federal abortion policy is radically out of step with how the vast majority of Americans feel about the issue. The Senate has an opportunity to change that.
LifeNews Note: Melanie Israel is a research associate for the DeVos Center for Religion & Civil Society at The Heritage Foundation. Originally published at Daily Signal.