Two pieces of pro-life legislation failed to overcome a Democratic filibuster this week-but two pro-life senators said the bills forced debate on a vital subject.

The Pain-Capable Unborn-Child Protection Act, introduced by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R- S.C.), would have banned elective abortions after five months, the point at which science suggests an unborn child can feel pain. The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, introduced by Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), would have required that a child who survives a botched abortion attempt receive the appropriate medical care for their gestational age.

Although both bills received majority support, they each failed to reach the 60-vote threshold required to proceed. Three Democratic senators-Sens. Doug Joes, Bob Casey, and Joe Manchin-broke with their party to support the Born-Alive bill. Casey and Manchin also voted in support of the Pain-Capable Bill, while Republican Sens. Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski voted against it.

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), an original co-sponsor of both the Pain-Capable and Born-Alive bills, told EWTN Pro-Life Weekly on Thursday that passing these pieces of legislation would have been a "great step forward."

Ernst noted that contrary to some arguments from pro-choice senators, the Born-Alive bill would not restrict abortion procedures.

"These are living, breathing, babies that are born," Ernst said. "They are born alive. And so they are outside of the mother's womb. They are babies, and they should be cared for."

Ernst argued that both bills are in the interest of women as well as the unborn.

"I would say that every woman, every girl, regardless of age, in the womb, to an old, old age, every woman should be respected. Every life is valuable," Ernst said, adding, "So I see these bills as being very pro-woman. We're trying to protect that young girl, that baby in the womb, and make sure that she has every opportunity given to every other child that's wanted."

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Ernst said despite the defeat, she hopes to win the support of her pro-choice colleagues on these bills.

"I am always hopeful," she said. "I am an eternal optimist and I think that these bills and the stories behind some of these bills will resonate with our friends and colleagues on the left, and I am hoping that they do draw something from deep down inside of them and understand that we can be pro-life and pro-life is pro-woman, and hopefully that they would come to understand that and support us on these very, very important pro-life measures."

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), who authored the Born-Alive bill, argued the legislation should have passed "one hundred to zero." 

"We had 44 Democrats not with us, 41 actively filibustered, and three were off on the presidential campaign trail where they're pretending to kiss babies, but they wouldn't actually show up to vote to protect real-life babies," Sasse said during a Thursday interview on EWTN Pro-Life Weekly.

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Sasse said although he is disappointed by the outcome of the vote, "we want to keep drawing more attention to this and force people to have these conversations about these moral responsibilities we have to love the weakest and most vulnerable among us."

Kate Scanlon is a producer for EWTN Pro-Life Weekly.