Senate Judiciary Committee Holds Hearing on Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the “Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act” to highlight the need for legislation that would extend federal legal protection to babies who are born alive during an abortion. 

Senator Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) chaired today’s hearing and called for passage of S.130. 

“Pro-abortion Democrats oppose this bill and they should be forced to explain why their allegiance to the abortion industry’s agenda should allow a practice that is tantamount to infanticide,” said Jennifer Popik, J.D., legislative director of National Right to Life. “It is outrageous that a born-alive human person may be subjected to lethal violence with impunity or be treated as if she is medical waste.”

In Senator Sasse’s opening remarks, he said, “This hearing is not about overturning Roe v. Wade. In fact, this hearing is not actually about limiting access to abortion at all. This hearing isn’t a debate about third-trimester, or second-trimester, or first-trimester abortion. This hearing is about making sure that every newborn baby has a fighting chance—whether she’s born in a labor and delivery ward or whether she’s born in an abortion clinic.”

In January 2019, the New York legislature passed, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) signed into law, 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 Among other provisions, the law repealed protections for infants born alive during an attempted abortion.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 must be present to care for a child 20 weeks or older born alive during an abortion.

Also in 2019, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) waded into the debate over a similar measure in the Commonwealth. In a radio interview, Northam indicated that, in his view, an infant born alive during an attempted abortion wouldn’t necessarily be entitled to immediate treatment.

“Thanks to the governors of New York and Virginia, we now know that pro-abortion groups and legislators believe that it should be legal to kill unborn babies, for absolutely any reason, at any time up to and including the moment of their birth,” Popik added. “Shockingly, they have also decided that the right to abortion extends to neglecting a living infant survivor of an abortion.”

The “Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act” contains 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. This language does not dictate bona fide medical judgments nor require futile measures. Rather, S. 130 requires that babies born alive during abortions are treated in the same manner as those babies who are spontaneously born prematurely.

“We thank Senator Sasse for his ongoing and steadfast leadership on this vital issue,” Popik said.

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