Senate blocks health care bill for live-born children after abortion attempt


The Senate voted Monday to block the adoption of a measure that would punish any doctor who fails to provide medical care to a born child living after an attempted abortion.

All but three Democrats voted against a procedural motion on the Protection of Survivors of Neglected Abortion Act, denying him the 60 votes needed to continue. The final vote count was 53 for and 44 opposed.

The bill would require a health professional to "demonstrate the same degree of professional competence, care and diligence to preserve the life and health of the child" as he would for "any other child born at the same gestational age. "The bill provides for criminal sanctions, a civil right of action for an affected mother, and a mandatory reporting requirement for other health care providers.

Opponents of the bill argued that it constituted an unjustified infringement of the right to abortion, preventing physicians from exercising their best medical judgment and exposing them to possible prosecution or prosecution. prosecution.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) Asked Democrats – and 2020 candidates in particular – to be on the list of debates after recent comments by Virginia Governor Ralph Northam ( D). McConnell also plans to hold a vote in the coming weeks on the Green New Deal Bill on climate change because he has sentenced Democrats to the extreme.

In a speech to the Senate prior to Monday's vote, McConnell described the measure as "a simple piece of legislation to protect newborns." Democrats, he said, "seem to suggest that the right to life of newborns can be subordinated to the circumstances surrounding their birth."

"My colleagues on the other hand must therefore decide where they will draw inspiration from these moral questions. On one side, some extreme voices decided that some newborn lives were more available than others. On the other side is the rest of the country, "McConnell said.

A group of Republicans in the House, led by minority House leader Kevin McCarthy (California), crossed the Capitol to the Senate to show support for their colleagues in the other chamber .

The largely Republican supporters of the bill say that new state-level legislation aimed at removing barriers to late abortions requires federal government intervention. Senator Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), The author of the bill, called the bill a ban on infanticide to protect innocent newborns.

"I want to ask each of my colleagues if infanticide is acceptable or not," Sasse told the Senate on Monday. "It's too direct for a lot of people in this body, but frankly, that's what we're talking about here today. . . . Are we a country that protects babies who are alive, born out of the womb after surviving a botched abortion?

But this description has infuriated supporters of abortion rights, who note that infanticide is already illegal and argue that the Sasse bill is actually intended to dissuade doctors from performing late abortions.

"We have to call today's vote for what it is: a direct attack on health and women's rights," said Leana Wen, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, in a statement. "This legislation is based on lies and a campaign of misinformation, with the aim of shaming women and criminalizing doctors for a practice that does not exist in medicine or reality."

Several medical groups, including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Medical Women's Association and the American Public Health Association, have also publicly opposed this bill, claiming in a recent letter to Senators that it "constituted a dangerous intrusion of the government into private health. care decisions. "

Three Democrats – Sens. Robert P. Casey Jr. (Pa), Joe Manchin III (VA) and Doug Jones (Ala.) – joined with all Republicans present to support the measure.

Kirsten Gillibrand (NY), Cory Booker (NJ), Kamala D. Harris (California), Amy Klobuchar (Minnesota), Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) And Bernie Sanders (I -Vt.) – voted "no"

Republicans are trying to get these bills passed as a result of efforts in New York and Virginia to lift restrictions on late-term abortions, which represent a small minority of the hundreds of thousands of abortions performed each year in the United States. -United. According to experts, these abortions are usually motivated by concerns about the mother's health or fetal abnormalities.

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics, 1.3% of all abortions performed in 2015 were performed at 21 or more weeks of gestation. About 91% occurred no later than 13 weeks of gestation.

The issue was deepened in the national debate when Northam discussed in a January radio interview what would happen if a child was born after a failed abortion attempt. "The infant would be resuscitated if that was what the mother and family wanted, and then a discussion would ensue between the doctors and the mother," he said – a statement that many Republicans see as a support for infanticide.

This included President Trump, who had stated in his State of the Union address that Northam "had in principle stated that he would execute a baby after birth". Since then, Republicans in the House have tried, unsuccessfully, to get a bill similar to that of Sasse taken in the minutes. Chamber controlled democratically. McConnell, meanwhile, has provided valuable time in the Senate to put the Democrats in this chamber to the vote.

In response, Democratic lawmakers have aggressively and often exasperatedly presented the fact that infanticide is already illegal and that "living born" bills are a hunting horse for more stringent abortion restrictions. .

Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) Described Monday's bill as "clearly anti-doctor, anti-woman and anti-family".

"It has no place to become law. His supporters claim that it would make illegal something that is already illegal, "Murray told the Senate. She added that the legislation "would do nothing but help Republicans advance their goal of denying women their constitutionally protected rights."


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