Editor’s note. Thanks to the efforts of Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Mo.), members of the U.S. House of Representatives today were able to begin signing a discharge petition on the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Act. The discharge petition is a tool that the minority can use to circumvent pro-abortion leadership who is blocking a vote on this bill.
The discharge petition can remain open an entire congress. Once it reaches a simple majority of signatures (218), the bill can come for a vote. 21 Democrats must join Republicans. Today’s effort was the first step in the battle to reach the crucial 218 number of signatures.
WASHINGTON – Led by Republican Whip Steve Scalise and Rep. Ann Wagner, members of the U.S. House of Representatives today lined up on the House floor to begin signing a discharge petition on the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act to the House floor. If the petition is signed by a majority of House members, it would force a vote on the House floor. If enacted, the bill would extend federal legal protection to babies who are born alive during an abortion.
On February 25, the U.S. Senate voted 53-44 for the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. However the bill failed to receive the 60 votes necessary to invoke cloture, due to efforts by pro-abortion Democrats to block its advancement.
“The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act deserves a vote on the House floor,” said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life. “Pro-abortion Democrats who oppose this bill should be forced to explain to their constituents why they believe abortion is such an absolute ‘right’ that it protects what amounts to infanticide: willfully withholding life-saving care from a born-alive infant.”
The national debate on the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act comes on the heels of controversy in New York and Virginia. In January, the New York legislature passed, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) signed, the so-called “Reproductive Health Act.” Among other provisions, the law repealed protections for infants born alive during an attempted abortion. Previously, New York law stipulated that a second physician be present to care for a child 20 weeks or older born alive during an abortion.
In Virginia, Gov. Ralph Northam (D) waded into the debate over a New York-style measure in the Commonwealth. In a radio interview during the Virginia legislature’s debate over the “repeal bill,” Northam said an infant born alive during an attempted abortion wouldn’t necessarily be entitled to immediate treatment other than being made “comfortable.” His comments touched off a torrent of criticism.
Legislation similar to that in New York and Virginia has been introduced and is under consideration by the legislatures in Illinois, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
“Thanks to the governors of New York and Virginia, and pro-abortion Democrats in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate, the extreme pro-abortion agenda has been laid bare for all to see,” Tobias added. “They believe it should be legal to kill unborn babies, for absolutely any reason, at any time up to and including the moment of their birth, and even in the moments after they are born.”
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.