WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., has announced that he will introduce the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act to the Senate on Monday and is calling for a voice vote to pass the measure.
Sasse announced on Thursday that he is beginning the Rule 14 process, which would bring the bill directly to the Senate floor and bypass the normal committee consideration of a piece of legislation. He said that he hopes his bill will be passed by a unanimous voice vote.
“On Monday evening, I’m going to be asking unanimous consent — for senators to come to the floor,” he said. “I’m going to ask all 100 senators to come to the floor and be against infanticide. This shouldn’t be complicated.”
Sasse started his floor speech by referencing the “morally repugnant” comments made on Wednesday by Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam. In a discussion on a WTOP radio show, Northam addressed questions regarding a state bill that would have allowed abortion throughout an entire pregnancy, even when a woman had already gone into labor.
“The infant would be delivered. The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired. And then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother,” he said.
The proposed bill was tabled later that day, amid an outpouring of criticism over the remarks by Northam and comments by the bill’s sponsor, state Del. Kathy Tran, D-Fairfax.
“Let’s really be clear about what we’re talking about here. We’re talking about fourth-trimester abortion, or what anyone in the normal world calls ‘infanticide,’” said Sasse in reference to Northam’s comments.
“This should be so far beyond any political consideration,” he said. “We’re talking about a tiny life that has done nothing wrong to warrant being left to die, cold and alone on a table.”
Sasse stressed that all of his colleagues should be able to say that killing a newborn baby is wrong and that “this doesn’t take any political courage.”
The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Act would penalize doctors and medical professionals who do not provide medical care to infants who survive abortions. The bill is co-sponsored by more than three dozen Republican senators.
The House version of the bill was introduced by Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., and has 131 co-sponsors, including one Democrat, Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-Ill.
Although Sasse emphasized that a voice vote should not be complicated, there is a significant chance the bill will run into opposition. When the House of Representatives voted on their version of the bill in January 2018, all but five Democrats voted against it.
Cases where infants have survived late-term abortions are rare, but do occur. Pro-life activist Gianna Jessen was born in an abortion facility following a failed saline abortion attempt when her mother was 30-weeks pregnant.
In 2013, Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell was convicted of three counts of first-degree murder for killing babies who had survived abortion attempts at his clinic, as well as one count of involuntary manslaughter in the death of a patient who died of an overdose in 2009. He is now serving several life sentences.