Senate Democrats Block Amendment to Stop Infanticide, Care for Babies Born Alive After Abortions

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 4, 2021   |   8:34PM   |   Washington, DC

Senate Democrats today blocked a request by Republicans to vote on an amendment that would stop infanticide and provide medical care and treatment for babies who are born alive after botched abortions.

During consideration of the $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill, members of both parties have filed hundreds of amendments on all sorts of political issues. Senator Ben Sasse, a pro-life Republican from Nebraska, filed an amendment to the legislation that would require holding abortionists accountable if they leave a baby who survives abortions to die.

However, pro-abortion Senator Dick Durbin, the number two Democrat in the Senate, made a motion against the amendment in an attempt to block a vote on it and claimed it violated Senate rules. Senator Sasse responded by asking the Senate to waive the rules to allow a vote on the Born Alive amendment, but Senate Democrats defeated his motion, which required 60 votes, on a 52-48 margin. Only Democrats Joe Manchin and Bob Casey joined Republicans to support the amendment to stop infanticide and protect babies who survive abortions.

Last year, during consideration of the bill itself, the Senate held a hearing on the Born Alive bill. In the hearing called, “The Infant Patient: Ensuring Appropriate Medical Care for Children Born Alive,” Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska made it clear why the bill is needed:

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“This hearing is not about overturning Roe v. Wade. In fact, this hearing is not actually about limiting access to abortion at all. This hearing isn’t a debate about third-trimester, or second-trimester, or first-trimester abortion. This hearing is about making sure that every newborn baby has a fighting chance — whether she’s born in a labor and delivery ward or whether she’s born in an abortion clinic.” For once, he urged, can we not “immediately retreat into the fortified and familiar trenches our two parties have occupied for most of the past 47 years?”

Family Research Council staffer Patricia Mosley told senators: “There have been no cases involving prosecutions under the [2002] Born-Alive Infants Protection Act that we know of. Why? Because there is currently no federal criminal statute specifically prohibiting taking the lives of born-alive infants.”

If babies do survive, Mosley said it’s because of the compassion of others. But we cannot, she insisted, “rely on the extraordinary for these infants to have a chance at life. Instead, we should expect that ordinary care be given to anyone considered a full person under the law.”

To people like Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah), that’s astounding. “I’m aware of no other circumstance in the law where we would willfully disregard the humanity of a human being.”

And the idea, Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said, “that it would somehow be debatable, what to do with that child… is a remarkable statement of just how extreme and radical the pro-abortion side of this debate has gotten.”

Leading pro-life groups were disgusted by the Democrats who voted to block the bill.

“These bills would have protected very developed, living unborn children who can feel pain and those babies who are born alive following an abortion who are often allowed to die from neglect,” said National Right to Life President Carol Tobias.

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Tobias continued, “Tragically, pro-abortion Democrats in the Senate are beholden to pro-abortion groups. Shame on pro-abortion Democrats for not being willing to even protect living babies that survive abortion or to protect late-term babies who feel the excruciating pain of abortion. Their constituents will want to know why they are willing to allow these horrors to continue.”

Penny Nance of Concerned Women for America added: “Planned Parenthood and abortion extremists’ death grip have once again prevailed through the Democrat party. Today they voted to turn their backs to protect babies who feel pain or are born alive from a failed abortion. It is unconscionable that Democrats stand on the side of authoritarian regimes like China and North Korea who condone the killing of unborn children until birth and leave unwanted newborns to die. Unfortunately that is where our country’s laws stand today.”

Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, also commented in an email to

“You would think that those elected to public service would know the difference between serving the public and killing the public. With few exceptions, that is apparently not the case among Democrats in the U.S. Senate, as once again, a largely party-line cloture vote failed to advance two key pro-life bills,” he said. “The job of pro-life people now is to inform the voters on how their Senators voted on these two bills, and then to vote the abortion extremists, i.e. the Democrats, out of office.”

When it comes to infanticide, data reports from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) show the incidence of born-alive abortion survivors who are killed in the U.S. According to Congressional testimony:

Data that the CDC collects also confirms babies are born alive after attempted abortions.  Between the years 2003 and 2014 there were somewhere between 376 and 588 infant deaths under the medical code P96.4 which keeps track of babies born alive after a “termination of pregnancy.”

The CDC concluded that, of the 588 babies, 143 were “definitively” born alive after an attempted abortion and they lived from minutes to one or more days, with 48% of the babies living between one to four hours.  It also admitted that it’s possible the number is an underestimate.

We know it is an underestimate because these are just reported numbers from hospitals, not abortion facilities.  Kermit Gosnell is only one abortionist who was responsible for “hundreds of snippings” of born-alive babies, yet he did not report even one.  His numbers alone exceed the “definitive” numbers of the CDC.

Additionally, research by the American Center for Law and Justice estimated the number is much higher, at least 362 between 2001 and 2010.

Here’s more:

Our analysis is further supported by data from Canada that shows in the last reported ten years, “491 babies were left to die after they were born alive during abortions.”  A look at how these statistics are recorded by Canada’s official recording agency (also using ICD-10 code P96.4), explained here and here, further confirms the data recorded by the CDC.  In Britain it is reported that 50 babies are born alive as the result of botched abortions each year.  Additionally, an “estimated 44,000 abortion survivors” are living in the United States today.

State figures also show babies possibly killed in infanticides. In fact, a  report from Florida shows that at least six babies were born alive during abortions in that state in 2018. The report does not indicate what happened to them.

Moreover, a total of 19 states do not require any protection for babies born alive after botched abortions. Some states never have passed laws to protect abortion survivors, while at least one other, New York, recently repealed its law requiring medical care for infants who survive abortions.

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.