On Tuesday, Senate Democrats blocked Republican Ben Sasse’s effort for unanimous consent on the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. It must be stressed that this bill wasn’t technically about abortion, but about protecting babies who survived the procedure. It seems the already risible argument of “my body, my choice” has morphed into “not my body anymore, still my choice.”
Sasse’s bill, which exempted mothers from prosecution, would have required “any health care practitioner present” to help ensure “that the child born alive is immediately transported and admitted to a hospital” and to “exercise the same degree of professional skill, care, and diligence to preserve the life and health of the child as a reasonably diligent and conscientious health care practitioner would render to any other child born alive at the same gestational age.”
Now, it would have been one thing if Sen. Patty Murray objected on grounds of states’ rights or the broad nature of the bill, but she did not. “We have laws against infanticide in this country,” she claimed. “This is a gross misinterpretation of the actual language of the bill that is being asked to be considered and therefore, I object.”
When asked if her bill would allow abortions for woman dilating in the “40th week,” Virginia Del. Kathy Tran said, “My bill would allow that, yes.” Her mistake was being honest. When Gov. Ralph Northam tried to make Tran’s infanticide bill sound humane, explaining that the “infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and mother,” his mistake was also honesty.
Northam, as his defenders pointed out, was merely talking about euthanasia—although they would never call it by its appropriate name—as if terminating the lives of infants with fetal abnormalities like Down syndrome for the convenience of the parents is more morally palatable. The Virginia bill, however, also allowed for the abortion, or post-birth termination, of viable, once-healthy infants for nearly any reason.
The reality of the bill hasn’t stopped people from continuing to act as if every abortion is a life or death decision for the mother. This, it seems, is rarely the case. The pro-life Charlotte Lozier Institute found that both medical literature and late-term abortion providers show the majority of late-term procedures are not performed for “maternal health complications or lethal fetal anomalies discovered late in pregnancy.” The pro-choice Guttmacher Institute also found that a majority of women who seek these abortions “do not do so for reasons of fetal anomaly or life endangerment,” either.
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