Republican lawmakers in Washington are pushing legislation that would protect babies that survive abortion attempts.
On Tuesday the Senate Judiciary Committee debated the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. It would require doctors to provide medical care to these infants.
Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) chaired the hearing and called for passage of S.130.
"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."
According to Focus on the Family, current federal law says all infants born at any stage of development are "persons." But there are no legal requirements for abortion doctors to provide medical care to babies struggling for life after a failed abortion procedure.
Sasse introduced the bill to the Senate again last year after Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam in a radio interview gave his opinion that an infant born alive during an attempted abortion wouldn't necessarily be entitled to immediate treatment.
As CBN News reported last year, the New York legislature passed, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) signed into law, the so-called "Reproductive Health Act." Among other provisions, the law repealed protections for infants born alive during an attempted abortion. Previously, New York law stipulated that a second physician must be present to care for a child 20 weeks or older born alive during an abortion.
Abortion supporters called the bill harmful to women's rights but abortion opponents said that all babies must receive the same care.
Fatima Goss Graves of the National Women's Law Center said, "Access to reproductive health care including abortion is a key part of every individual's liberty, equality, and economic security."
However, pro-life advocates wondered aloud why some Democrats would allow a practice equivalent to infanticide.
"Pro-abortion Democrats oppose this bill and they should be forced to explain why their allegiance to the abortion industry's agenda should allow a practice that is tantamount to infanticide," said Jennifer Popik, legislative director of National Right to Life. "It is outrageous that a born-alive human person may be subjected to lethal violence with impunity or be treated as if she is medical waste."
Clinical Neonatologist Dr. Robin Pierucci, medical director of a 50-bed neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), said in the Senate committee hearing last fall, "Whether or not we have the ability to heal, we are always obligated to care. This means that all human babies who are born alive are our patients and medical personnel should be ready to directly provide the medical standard of care or be prepared to stabilize the baby until a team with more advanced training arrives.
Most of the Democrats present at that hearing said the measure was redundant or unnecessary.
"We have laws against infanticide in this country," Sen. Patty Murray (D- Wash) said last year on the Senate floor when she rejected Sasse's request for unanimous consent to the legislation. "This is a gross misinterpretation of the actual language of the bill that is being asked to be considered, and therefore I object," according to the National Review.
Although opponents argue that infants never survive attempted abortions, there is proof that some do survive. A recent television commercial featured several abortion survivors.