Rep. Tulsi Gabbard introduced two bills on Thursday aimed at protecting babies who survive abortions and preventing male athletes from competing in women’s sports.
Gabbard (D-Hawaii) introduced H.R. 8939, a measure “To amend title 18, United States Code, to protect pain-capable unborn children.” The full text of her measure has not yet been published.
The group Democrats for Life of America praised the congresswoman and asked the public to sign a petition in support.
“It is critical to give federal protection to fully developed, born babies who survive an abortion attempt,” the petition states. “There are at least 300 documented instances of babies surviving abortion: a lot estimate, given reporting is not mandatory. Often, these babies are left by an abortionist to die, rather than being provided the necessary oxygen, fluids, and surgery they may need to survive.”
Bills protecting abortion survivors were introduced earlier in the 116th Congress, requiring attending doctors or health care workers to give necessary health care to babies surviving abortions; it criminalized the failure to do so and required the reporting of any such instances of neglect.
Mothers were protected from prosecution under the legislation, and were given a civil cause of action under the bill, if care were denied their baby. Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Mo.) was the sponsor of the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act (H.R. 962). Only three House Democrats co-sponsored the bill, and Gabbard was not among them.
The bill was repeatedly denied a vote on the House Floor, and Wagner along with Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) filed a discharge petition to force consideration of the bill by the entire House.
Only 205 members signed the petition, short of the 218 necessary to force consideration of the bill. While several Democrats signed the petition, Gabbard was also not among them. In 2017, she also voted against legislation to ban most abortions after 20 weeks.
Last year, Gabbard ran for the Democratic nomination for president, finishing with only two convention delegates. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris finished with zero delegates.
As a Democratic presidential candidate, Gabbard was viewed as one of the more moderate members of the field, including on abortion. However, she still supported taxpayer-funded abortion and said her “cutoff” point for legal abortion was “the third trimester, unless the woman’s life or severe health consequences is at risk,” in a 2019 interview with talk show host Dave Rubin.
In response to a survey by the New York Times, Gabbard pledged to codify Roe v. Wade and repeal the Hyde Amendment—allowing for taxpayer-funded abortions—along with preserving Planned Parenthood funding, and allowing family planning funding to go to U.S. clinics that refer for abortions.
Also on Dec. 10, Gabbard introduced legislation to prevent transgender athletes from competing in women’s sports, clarifying that Title IX protections against “sex discrimination” refer to “biological sex as determined at birth by a physician.”
States that allow males identifying as female to compete in women’s sports are “creating uncertainty, undue hardship and lost opportunities for female athletes,” she said.
In Connecticut, for example, two biological males identifying as female were allowed to compete in women’s track-and-field competitions and dominated the state championship events.