The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act is not about abortion, it is about stopping passive infanticide

Editor’s note. The following remarks were delivered yesterday by Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.). Sen. Sasse is the prime sponsor of the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act which secured a majority of votes but not the 60 votes to “invoke cloture”—ending a pro-abortion filibuster.

The piece of legislation we are voting on today—the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act—is not about abortion. I am prolife, and I am going to support LINDSEY GRAHAM’s bill [the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act]. Yet the bill we are voting on does not change anyone’s access to abortion. It doesn’t have anything to do with Roe v. Wade. It is about babies who are already born. 

This morning on TV, those on CNN made up this insane phrase. They said it was a fetus that had been born. What the heck is that? It is another way of saying they don’t want to debate the actual debate we are having on the floor today. We are going to vote once on LINDSEY GRAHAM’s pro-life legislation, and I am going to support it. We are also going to vote on a piece of legislation called the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. 

These are about babies who are born, who are outside their mothers. What is actually happening is that the senior Senator from Illinois [Democrat Dick Durbin] is wanting to obscure the debate because he wants to use euphemisms about choice so that we don’t have to admit to the American public that what is actually happening on the floor today is probably going to be like it was last year—with 44 Democrats filibustering an anti-infanticide bill. There is nothing in the bill that is about abortion—nothing. It is about infanticide. That is the actual legislation. We have 44 people over there who want to hide from it and talk in euphemisms about abortion because they don’t want to defend the indefensible because they can’t defend the indefensible. 

We are talking about killing babies who are born. That is the actual legislation we are voting on today in the Senate. That is what the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act is. Is it OK in the eyes of the U.S. Senate for us to say: ‘‘Well, you can’t actively kill the little baby. You can’t take a pillow and put it over her face and smother her to death, but you can back away and kill her that way’’? 

That is what Ralph Northam—the disgraced Governor of Virginia—was talking about when he said: Well, once the baby is born, if she survives an abortion—and we wish that it would not happen—then we will figure out a way to keep her calm for a little while, while the doctors debate what they want to do. What he means is, kill the baby, and that is the legislation we are voting on today. … LINDSEY GRAHAM’s Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act is a bill about abortion. There is another bill that is about babies who have already been born. News flash, CNN: If you are a baby and if you have been born and if you are outside of Mama, nobody calls that a fetus. You just want to call it a fetus because you don’t want to cover the actual story that is being voted on in the Senate today. 

[Senator Durbin then said infanticide is already illegal in the United States.]

Madam President, just for the record and just so we all have it clear, the Senator talks about infanticide, and he is right. Active infanticide is illegal under Federal law as there are no crimes for it in half of the States. More fundamentally, what the Senate is considering today is passive infanticide. Whether they are born in glistening NICUs at fancy hospitals, with a lot of rich cars in the parking lots, or whether the babies are born in the unfortunate circumstances of abortion clinics in strip malls, whether they are 1 day old or 5 days old, it turns out that they die if you wander away from them and deny them care. If you don’t give them warmth and if you don’t give them food, they die. 

Passive killing, passive infanticide, is not illegal under Federal law. The Senator said infanticide is illegal, and he is half right. Active infanticide is illegal under Federal law. You cannot take a pillow and smother a newborn baby to death. 

What you can do and what does happen in abortion clinics across America—and it is why we held a Judiciary Committee hearing on this 2 weeks ago so as to hear from medical and legal community experts who know what the practice looks like—is the taking of that vulnerable, innocent, little, tiny fetus, putting her on a cart, walking her down the hall, putting that cart in a closet, and leaving her to die by exposure. That is what we should prevent, and that is what this legislation is about. I thank the Presiding Officer.