Washington D.C., Sep 10, 2019 / 15:00 pm
Five months after first attempting to force a vote on legislation to protect babies who survive botched abortions, pro-life Members in the House are still at a standstill.
“This is not even a pro-life or a pro-choice issue. This is an issue of someone’s right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Mo.) told CNA on Tuesday. “This is equal protection under the law.”
“The human rights of children are being violated,” said Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), who leads the House pro-life caucus, at a congressional hearing on Tuesday on the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, yet “very little is being done.”
Wagner introduced the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act (H.R. 962) in February. The legislation would require that any baby surviving a botched abortion attempt receive the same standard of medical care that any other child would if born at the same gestational age.
Health care providers who fail to do so could be fined and face up to five years in jail, though no mother could be prosecuted in any such case under the bills provisions. The mothers could, however, take civil action to obtain relief in the event a provider does not provide the care to the child.
“To carry this piece of legislation is a joy, an absolute joy. A struggle, but all things that are hard and important are,” Wagner told CNA on Tuesday.
Days prior to the bill’s introduction in the House, controversial comments by Virginia State Delegate Kathy Tran (D), and later by Gov. Ralph Northam (D), catapulted the issue into the national spotlight.
Tran, speaking about her legislation at a hearing, told a legislative committee hearing that her bill would allow for abortions throughout the third trimester, including while a woman was in active labor, so long as one doctor determined that the abortion was necessary for the woman’s physical or mental health.