Two newly-elected members of Congress signed a petition on Tuesday to bring a key pro-life bill to the House floor for consideration.
Reps. Mike Garcia (R-Calif.) and Tom Tiffany (R-Wisc.) were both sworn in to the House on Tuesday morning, and signed the discharge petition for the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act afterward according to the office of Minority WHIP Steve Scalise (R-La.).
The petition needs 218 member signatures to force consideration of the bill. While most bills do not advance out of committees to the House floor, a successful discharge petition would force consideration of the measure by the entire body.
Rep. Ann Wagner’s (R-Mo.) Born-Alive Act requires that, in cases of babies surviving abortion attempts, the attending doctor or health care worker gives them the same standard of care as they would to any other newborn born prematurely at the same gestational age.
Wagner’s legislation has 192 cosponsors, with a Senate version having been introduced by Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.).
While Congress in 2002 passed the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act defining abortion survivors as people, Wagner’s 2019 bill gives an enforcement mechanism for the babies to receive necessary care.
It criminalizes refusal of such care, requires health care workers to report any refusal of care to authorities, and gives the mother a civil cause of action if care is denied, as well as protection from prosecution.
Currently, the discharge petition for the Born-Alive act has 205 signatures, including Tiffany’s and Garcia’s. It expires at the end of the 116th Congress in January of 2021.
Tiffany was sworn in to replace former congressman Sean Duffy in Wisconsin’s 7th Congressional district, while Garcia won the May 12 special election for California’s 25th district seat. That seat was formerly held by congresswoman Katie Hill who resigned in October amid allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior with office and campaign staffers.