By Dave Andrusko
Most pro-lifers are familiar with the sterling work of Ryan Bomberger who, along with his wife Bethany, are the heart and soul of The Radiance Foundation. If you’ve ever attended one of his presentations or read one of his many works, you know Ryan talks about being a “factivist,” as opposed to just an activist.
“You cannot allow emotions to push you through everything, emotions don’t set us free,” he said. “Truth sets us free.”
In our case we are blessed because we are able to make our case on a wide variety of grounds and when making the case for the equality of all life, emotions and facts work in harness.
Pro-lifers are, of course, on a first-name basis with emotion. You can’t know of the atrocities that are committed against unborn children—and abortion survivors!—and not get a lump in your throat.
But nobody but nobody puts more emphasis on a clear presentation of the “facts”—the truth—than pro-lifers. They are on our side, and we take accuracy seriously.
These facts are leaven with a deep well of human compassion for the victims of the Abortion Leviathan. That is why we work unceasingly to raise the public’s consciousness about the fate of 926,200 unborn babies each and every year.
However there is a class of victims whose fate is (to put it mildly) under-reported: babies who survive abortions. To their everlasting credit Congressional Republicans are trying to shine the light on what is a dark secret to almost everyone who does not follow the abortion issue closely. And that is that there is an unknown number of babies who survive abortions but who do not receive the same (not more, not less, just the same) medical care as premature babies of a similar gestational age born spontaneously.
Tomorrow House Republicans are holding a hearing entitled “End Infanticide: Examining the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act.”
Among the witnesses will be Jill Stanek, RN, a nurse who in 1999 discovered a baby with Down syndrome born alive after a late-term abortion who was left in a dirty utility room to die at Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn, Illinois. “She found that these second or even third trimester babies were sometimes born alive after an induced labor abortion,” as Nancy Valko noted.
In addition, there will be Dr. Robin Pierucci, MD, neonatologist and medical director of a 50-bed neonatal intensive care unit, and Dr. Kathi Aultman, M.D., a retired Ob/Gyn and former abortion provider.
Pro-abortion Democrats (alas, virtually all Democrats are pro-abortion), desperate to avoid the whole subject, insist abortion survivors are a figment of the pro-life imagination. Truth be told, there is nothing that would persuade pro-abortion Democrats there are abortion survivors and that they are neglected.
What does the Centers for Disease Control say? The CDC estimates that between 2003 and 2014, at least 143 babies died after being born alive during abortions.
A moment’s reflection tells you the number is likely much, much higher. Only five states independently report cases of infants born alive –Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, and Oklahoma. Even in that small sample, at least 25 children were born alive during attempted abortions in 2017.
That leaves the CDC relying on state health departments which vary radically in their thoroughness. Additionally, California, the nation’s most populous state, along with Maryland and New Hampshire, has not reported any abortion figures to the CDC since 1998.
The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act (H.R. 962) sponsored by Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Mo.) would add enforcement teeth to the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act passed (unanimously, no less) in 2002.
The proposed legislation would enact an explicit requirement that a baby born alive during an abortion must be afforded “the same degree” of care that would apply “to any other child born alive at the same gestational age,” including transportation to a hospital. But Democrats do not want to have to vote and no committees have taken up the bill.
Every day the House has been in session, pro-life members have taken to the floor, seeking “unanimous consent” to take up the bill, to no avail. In response, a “discharge petition” was presented in April, the lone way to bypass committees run by pro-abortion Democrats and be brought to the floor for a vote.
If a majority of House members (218) add their names to the petition, the bill will. To date, every Republican and three Democrats have signed the petition. The discharge petition currently needs 17 more signatures. You can find the signers here.
Pro-lifers in the Senate did their best to move the legislation forward. In late February of 2019, the U.S. Senate considered the enhanced protective measure.
Fifty-three senators voted to take up the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act sponsored by Senator Ben Sasse (R-Ne.). However 60 votes were required to “invoke cloture” (overcome a filibuster), so the bill did not advance. The bill was supported by 50 Republicans and three Democrats.
Melissa Ohden, who survived a failed 1977 saline infusion abortion, has testified before numerous House committees. According to her organization, “The Abortion Survivors Network”, from 2012-2018, they have, “…had contact with 260 survivors of abortion or their friends or family who contacted us on their behalf. We know this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to survivors—many don’t ever share their stories with anyone, and, in fact, many probably don’t even know about their survival, as it’s kept a secret.”
This Tuesday’s hearing is at 1:00 p.m. on September 10, 2019 in HVC 215. The public is encouraged to attend.
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