By Karen Cross, NRL Political Director
On March 13, the Republican House leadership held a press conference in response to Democrats who are repeatedly blocking the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act legislation from coming to the floor for a vote.
Seventeen times House Democrats have turned their backs on the most innocent among us – our newly-born children who have survived an abortion.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney (R-WY), and Reps. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), Ben Cline (R-VA), Jackie Walorski (R-IN), and Chris Smith (R-NJ) joined pro-life leaders at a press conference on Capitol Hill to highlight the need for Born-Alive legislation that requires care for babies that survive abortion.
“This is not a partisan issue,” Minority Leader McCarthy said. “Last night on the floor, for the 17th time, we asked to bring up born-alive protection. For the 17th time, Democrats refused.”
“There are some issues you really can’t believe that you have to have a debate about and this is certainly one of those,” Republican Conference Chair Cheney said. “The idea that we would not protect babies after they are born — the idea that we have one party now in this Congress that refuses to put a bill on the floor to stop infanticide — it’s really unbelievable.”
“All babies including those that survive abortions should be treated with the exact same degree of medical attention,” stated Rep. Kinzinger.
Pro-life leaders included: Jill Stanek, a former nurse who saw children born alive, then left to die; Olivia Gans Turner, president of Virginia Society for Human Life, state affiliate to National Right to Life, and national director of American Victims of Abortion; and Melissa Cifuentes, a pro-life Rhode Island teen who spoke at a hearing against Rhode Island’s radical pro-abortion bill earlier this month.
In recent weeks, House Republicans have asked Democrats to consider legislation that would provide care to babies who survive abortion. Seventeen times House Democrats have refused to allow the vote to be taken.
“I’m calling on every member of Congress to sign the discharge petition so that we can bring this bill to the floor, have this debate so all the country can see this barbaric process of murdering babies when they’re alive is legal in many states,” Republican Whip Scalise said.
“I asked my Democratic leadership today — what in the world are you afraid of?” asked Rep. Walorski. “We’re going to keep asking. Let us have a vote. I would ask my fellow Americans to call every single representative and ask them to get on this bill.”
Republican leaders urged House members to sign onto a “discharge petition.” A discharge petition allows 218 members of the House to force a floor vote on a bill, even if pro-abortion leaders oppose the measure.
Action in the Senate and in the states
On February 25, 44 members of the United States Senate voted to protect what amounts to infanticide: willfully withholding life-saving care from a born-alive infant.
Stanek discussed two extreme abortion bills being debated in the Illinois state legislature, while Cifuentes discussed the abortion legislation being advanced in Rhode Island.
Turner followed by sharing her experiences with controversial abortion legislation in Virginia’s Assembly this year.
“Recent efforts to pass radical pro-abortion bills in the Virginia General Assembly very clearly point to the goals of pro-abortion groups,” Turner said. “The bills would have stripped away all reasonable protections and restrictions regarding abortions up to birth and enshrined abortion as a fundamental human right under the Virginia Constitution.”
“All of Virginia, and the nation, is repulsed by the events that are unfolding. The comments of Del. Kathy Tran [that her bill would allow abortion through “40 weeks”], and soon after, Governor Ralph Northam, simply shed a bright light on a very ugly reality,” Turner continued.
“I didn’t think I could be shocked any more after serving eight terms in the Virginia House of Delegates…but I’m shocked and appalled at the debate that was going on in the Commonwealth that I grew up in,” Freshman Rep. Ben Cline told the crowd.
Rep. Chris Smith shared the sad story of Sycloria Williams who delivered a live baby girl at 23 weeks. The abortion clinic owner threw the gasping baby into a biohazard bag and tossed her into the garbage.
Smith said, “According to Sycloria’s lawyer, ‘She came face to face with a human being. And that changed everything.’ Sycloria had a funeral for her baby girl, who she named Shanice.”
“We need to provide protection for babies like Shanice and recourse for mothers like Sycloria,” added Smith.
Rep. Smith then reminded reporters about Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell, who was convicted of murder for killing children who were born alive after being aborted.
The Grand Jury report said, “Gosnell had a simple solution for the unwanted babies he delivered: he killed them. He didn’t call it that. He called it ‘ensuring fetal demise’.”
“We call on upon those in office to act with compassion, sign the discharge petition, and pass the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act,” Turner added. “Abortion kills America’s children and scars their mothers.”
Documentation on the history of the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act of 2002 (1 U.S.C. §8) and related issues is available on the NRLC website at: www.nrlc.org/federal/bornaliveinfants.