According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), between 2003 and 2014 there were 143 infant deaths in the U.S. that occurred following a botched abortion. The CDC noted that "it is possible" the actual number is higher.
While the 2002 Born-Alive Infants Protection Act-passed into law with bipartisan support-legally defined babies who survive abortions as persons, Sasse's 2020 legislation provides enforcement mechanisms against abortionists who fail to provide necessary care to abortion survivors.
The 2002 bill was just a "definitions bill" without penalties, Jill Stanek, national campaign chair of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, explained to CNA.
While notorious Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell was convicted in 2013 on three counts of first-degree murder for cutting the spines of infants, federal law is currently a "gray area" for abortionists who passively allow abortion survivors to die by providing them no care, Stanek said.
The legislation that failed in the Senate on Tuesday provides an enforcement mechanism and is really the "bookend" to the original bill, she said.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement in reaction to the Senate votes, calling the nation's abortion laws a "license to kill" and noting that the Born Alive bill offered to do nothing more than "prohibit infanticide."
Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities, said that the Senate "failed to advance two critical human rights reforms that most Americans strongly support."
"The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act would ban abortions after 20 weeks post-fertilization when a child can certainly feel pain and has a reasonable chance of survival. And the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act helps ensure that Roe v. Wade's license to kill unborn children does not extend to killing the newborn babies who survive abortion," Naumann said.
"It is appalling that even one senator, let alone more than 40, voted to continue the brutal dismemberment of nearly full-grown infants, and voted against protecting babies who survive abortion. Our nation is better than this, and the majority of Americans who support these bills must make their voices heard."