By Bethany Blankley (The Center Square)
Two Republican US senators have introduced a bill to provide medical care to babies born alive after surviving abortions.
They did so after the House passed a similar measure by a 220-210 vote last month, with all but two Texas Democrats voting against the bill.
The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, filed by Sens. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma, and John Thune, R-South Dakota, would require abortion facilities and medical providers to treat babies born alive despite the same level of failed abortions. They care like other newborns. It states that a child born alive from an abortion is a legal person under the law and entitled to all legal protections.
The bill states, “Any health care practitioner (A) present at the live birth of an infant shall use the same degree of professional skill, care and diligence to preserve the life and health of the infant as a reasonably diligent and conscientious health practitioner. The care practitioner shall deliver any other live-born child of the same gestational age; and (B) following the exercise of skill, care, and diligence required under subparagraph (A), ensure that the live-born infant is promptly transferred to and admitted to a hospital.”
It adds penalties for medical providers for noncompliance, including civil liability and criminal charges that carry fines or up to five years in prison.
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The bill defines “abortion” as “the use or prescription of any instrument, medicine, drug, or other substance or instrument to— (A) intentionally kill the unborn child of a woman known to be pregnant; or (B) intentionally impregnate a woman known to be pregnant.” Cessation, except for the purpose of – (i) after performance, to provide a live birth and preserve the life and health of the live born child; or (ii) to remove the dead unborn child.
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At least 143 babies were born alive after attempted abortions between 2003 and 2014, according to the CDC, based on data from only eight states that report this data.
If the Senate passes the bill, which is unlikely to do so with a Democratic majority, President Joe Biden will veto it, having expressed opposition to the bill that has already passed the House.
And while pro-life groups have advocated for the bill to pass in the Senate, Democrats in Congress have called on the administration to declare a public health emergency to protect abortion access. Health and Human Services Secretary Javier Becerra told Axios that he is considering ways to do that.
“There are certain criteria that you look for to be able to declare a public health emergency,” he said. “This is usually done by scientists and professionals in the field who will tell us if we are in an emergency and based on that, I have the authority to make a declaration.” He did not say what a declaration on abortion would look like and under what conditions it would qualify.
“We are constantly exploring additional steps we can take to protect and expand access to reproductive health services, including abortion care, and are prioritizing the steps that can give us the highest impact and most sustainable solutions,” an HHS spokesperson told Axios.
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Any such effort will be fought by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and others, who have pushed back against a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) policy that removed restrictions on access to certain abortion-inducing drugs.
Paxton said in a statement Friday that the FDA’s dereliction of duty “will not prevent him and the attorneys general from protecting the health of their citizens.” Although the FDA “has abdicated its responsibility to protect women’s health,” he said he “has not.”
Paxton has fought every effort to overturn Texas’ abortion ban, including last August winning an injunction against Becerra for using emergency medical treatment and active labor laws to allow Texas hospitals and doctors to perform abortions.
“The court’s decision to side with Texas is an important step in preventing Joe Biden and his radical abortion administration from breaking the law and threatening our entire health care industry by withholding federal funding,” Paxton said at the time. “We will not allow leftist bureaucrats in Washington to convert our hospitals and emergency rooms into walk-in abortion clinics…
“No matter how much Joe Biden tries to sneak through the back door for illegal forced abortions in Texas, I will fight to protect our pro-life laws and Texas mothers and babies.”
Syndicated with permission from Center Square.