On Thursday evening, the Senate rejected a measure requiring care for babies who survive abortion attempts.
As part of consideration of a budget resolution on Thursday, Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) tried to insert an amendment based on his Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. The legislation requires that babies born alive during botched abortions receive the same standard of care that other newborns of the same gestational age would.
Sasse’s amendment failed to receive the necessary 60 votes to be included in the budget resolution, receiving only 52 votes in favor and 48 votes against.
Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Bob Casey (D-Penn.) were the only two Democrats who joined Senate Republicans in supporting Sasse’s amendment.
Pro-life groups stated their disapproval with the amendment’s failure to pass.
“Appalled that this didn't pass,” Democrats for Life of America tweeted. “There's nothing Democratic about denying medical care to newborn survivors of abortion.”
“Thank you @SenSasse for introducing the amendment tonight that simply requires EQUAL medical care for infants, whether they're born in the L&D ward of a hospital, or ‘accidentally’ in an abortion facility,” Susan B. Anthony List stated.
“Protecting newborns ought to be the easiest thing in the world,” Sasse stated after the vote. “Every baby deserves care. This isn’t about abortion, it’s about human rights.”
Senate Pro-Life Caucus chair Steve Daines (R-Mont.) tweeted that denying care to abortion survivors “isn't healthcare, this is infanticide. It’s chilling.” Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) tweeted, “We must restore a culture of life to our legislature.”
“Born-alive” legislation has been introduced in both the House and the Senate in recent years, but has never been enacted. The House passed a version of the legislation in 2018.
When Republicans were in the minority in the House in the 116th Congress, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise led a discharge petition to bring Rep. Ann Wagner’s (R-Mo.) Born-alive bill to the House Floor for consideration. The petition fell 13 signatures short of the 218 signatures necessary to do so.
Sasse introduced the Senate version of the bill; his legislation required that, once infants surviving abortions received necessary care, that they be transported and admitted to a hospital. That bill failed in a 2019 roll call vote, 53-44.
Not all states publicize data on abortions, but the pro-life Charlotte Lozier Institute has reported that there have been instances of babies surviving botched abortion attempts.
In Florida alone in 2019, the state reported two survivors of abortion attempts; between the years 2013 and 2019, 23 babies in Florida were reported to have been born alive during abortions.
The Senate on Thursday night considered a variety of other amendments to a budget resolution, the first legislative step in passing another coronavirus relief package.
Other proposed amendments included attempts to prohibit increasing the number of justices on the Supreme Court, and to stop COVID relief from going to prison inmates.
President Trump in September issued an executive order requiring medical care for babies surviving failed abortion attempts. He directed the Health Secretary to ensure that federally-funded health care programs and activities were “aware” of the order to provide the care and transfer the babies to hospitals, and to investigate complaints of violations.