By Catholic News Service
WASHINGTON | The Senate in an evening vote Feb. 25 failed to pass a measure sponsored by Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Nebraska, to require that babies born alive after an abortion be given medical attention and “the same protection of law as any newborn.”
The Born-Alive Survivors Protection Act failed in a 53-44 vote. Sixty
votes were needed for passage of the measure, which Sasse’s press
office said was co-sponsored by half the Senate.
“I want to ask each and every one of my colleagues whether we’re OK
with infanticide,” Sasse said ahead of the vote. “This language is
blunt. I recognize that and it’s too blunt for many people in this body.
But frankly, that is what we’re talking about here today. Infanticide
is what the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act is actually
Protecting babies who “are alive, born outside the womb after having
survived a botched abortion … is what this is about,” he said.
Kristan Hawkins, president for Students for Life of America, called
Sasse’s bill “the bare minimum standard for valuing infant life, as
everyone should be able to look at a baby born during an abortion and
understand that a humane response is required.”
“Too many important votes are forgotten, but this one won’t be,” she
said in a statement issued after the vote. “These kinds of tactics in
which a win is a loss can disillusion voters, but allowing infants to
die after being born alive will rally pro-life Americans when it
On Feb. 4, Sasse had called for unanimous consent on his Born-Alive
Abortion Survivors Protection Act. “Everyone in the Senate ought to be
able to say unequivocally that killing that little baby is wrong. This
doesn’t take any political courage,” he said from the floor.
In response, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Washington, blocked unanimous consent by objecting to the bill.
The next day the chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life
Activities called it “unconscionable” that the U.S. Senate failed to
“unanimously declare to the nation that infanticide is objectively
“No newborn should be left to suffer or die without medical care. It
is barbaric and merciless to leave these vulnerable infants without any
care or rights,” Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas,
said in a Feb. 5 statement.
After Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said Feb.
14 that he was scheduling a roll-call vote for Feb. 25, Sasse said he
was thankful, because then “every American can know where their senator
stands on the issue of infanticide.”
“A lot of senators spend a lot of time telling people how they fight
for the little guy,” Sasse said in a Feb. 14 statement. “Well, here’s
the chance for them to prove it. We’re going to have a vote on the
Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act and everyone is going to
have to put their name by their vote.
“It’s cowardly for a politician to say they’ll fight for the little
guy but only if the little guy isn’t an actual seven-pound baby who’s
fighting for life. It shouldn’t be hard to protect newborn babies —
let’s pass this legislation.”
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