Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., made a passionate plea on the House Floor Thursday, calling for equal protection under the law for babies born alive after abortions.
"Doctors today routinely diagnose and treat a myriad of conditions, illnesses, and diseases suffered by societies' littlest patients — unborn babies and newborns — significantly enhancing both the children's health and longevity," Smith said.
"Abortionists, on the other hand, take a different approach," he continued. "They dismember and chemically kill unborn children for profit."
Smith went on to say that babies have been born alive after late term abortions for decades, but the law doesn't protect them.
"The problem with existing law, Mr. Speaker, is enforcement — the lack of legal implications," he said. "The Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act (H.R. 4712), sponsored by Marsha Blackburn, requires appropriate health care to be given to any child who survives an attempted abortion."
The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act makes it a crime if a health care practitioner lets the baby die or actively kills the infant after a botched abortion. It also gives mothers the right to sue.
"Whether by neglect or intentional means, the killing of a baby who has been born alive is abhorrent," David Christensen, vice president of government affairs for Family Research Council, told CBN News. "With Republicans in control of both Congress and the White House, it is well past time to pass Born Alive Abortion Survivors Act."
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., announced last week the House will vote on the bill this Friday, on the day of the March for Life.
"This bill states simply that if a baby is born after a failed abortion attempt, he or she should be given the same medical care as a baby born any other way," McCarthy said in a statement.
"However, doctors who fail to provide medical care to newborns will be held criminally accountable," he continued. "There is absolutely no ambiguity here. This is about protecting babies who are born and alive, and nobody should be against that."
But in a news release from Faith2Action, the organization speaks out against McCarthy's plan, saying the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act "won't prevent even one abortion."
Faith2Action wants the House instead to pass this Friday, H.R. 490, the Heartbeat Protection Act of 2017, which bans the abortion of a baby when a heartbeat is detected.
Fetal heartbeats start at 21 days, and around six weeks into pregnancy they can usually be measured, according to LifeSiteNews.
"Congress has a choice to make, but will they choose life?" asked Janet Porter, one of the organizers of the Heartbeat Protection Act and the president of Faith2Action, in the news release. "They can provide real protection for babies whose beating hearts can be heard, or turn their backs on the babies and the pro-lifers who elected them, and choose, instead, to pass the bill which won't prevent a single abortion."
"Their bill would merely tell the abortionist, 'You better make sure you kill the child in your first attempt, because you won't be allowed to finish him off,'" Porter continued. "I have an idea - how about we protect the child from the abortion in the first place?"
Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, is the sponsor of the Heartbeat Protection Act, but he's also a cosponsor of the Born-Alive bill. He's pushing for a vote on the Heartbeat bill.
"I know if I have to answer to God which one He'll tell me I need to do," said King, according to LifeSiteNews. "He'll say, 'Save the babies. Don't worry about people's feelings; save the babies.'"
The Heartbeat Protection Act has 169 cosponsors. The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act has 94 cosponsors.
The March for Life is this Friday, January 19. The peaceful demonstration protesting abortion is held every year around the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court case which legalized abortion.