Congressman tries to add 'Born Alive' protections to vaping bill

Oregon Congressman Greg Walden Credit Mike Albright Photography Shutterstock Oregon Congressman Greg Walden. | Mike Albright Photography/Shutterstock

The House of Representatives on Friday blocked an attempt to add legislation to protect infants who survive botched abortion attempts into a bill on e-cigarettes.

On Friday morning, House Republicans led by Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) used a procedural move to force a vote on language protecting abortion survivors taken from a bill that has been blocked from consideration for a year.

Walden's "motion to recommit" was defeated by a vote of 213 – 195. Only three Democrats voted in support of including Wagner's language, Reps. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.), Colin Peterson (D-Minn.), and Ben McAdams (D-Utah).

The chair of the U.S. bishops' pro-life committee, Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, condemned the result.

"Just three days ago, the U.S. Senate tragically failed to advance the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act," he said. "Americans should be outraged that our U.S. Congress cannot pass a law to ensure that newborn babies are not vulnerable to infanticide."

Friday's legislative session began with debate on a bill to regulate youth tobacco and e-cigarette consumption. Walden attempted to include language from Rep. Ann Wagner's (R-Mo.) Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act into the bill.

"We all care deeply about the health of our children," Walden said of tobacco regulations, adding that "the younger the child, the more vulnerable and defenseless they are."

"That's why we are offering a final amendment to the bill that literally would save the lives of the youngest children, the babies," he said. "I hope that we can end the ghastly practice of letting die, children when they are born alive after an abortion."

Wagner's bill would mandate that babies who survive a botched abortion attempt be given the same standard of care as other infants born alive at the same gestational age, and be admitted to a hospital.

Under the legislation, doctors or health care workers who fail to provide this care could be liable to criminal penalties, but mothers would not only be not liable but could sue for damages if the care is not provided.

Although it was introduced a year ago, the bill has not yet received a vote because House Democrats have successfully blocked it from coming to the floor. A "discharge" petition-which requires the signatures of 218 members to force a vote-has received only 204 signatures so far.

"Congress has an opportunity to ensure that no baby is denied life-saving care, simply because he or she is allegedly unwanted," Wagner said, noting that her bill has been blocked from consideration 80 times by Democratic leadership.

"Our constituents must know where we stand," she said.

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