WASHINGTON — The pro-life organization Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List) has launched a new campaign to pressure members of Congress to sign the discharge petition for the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act.
If 218 members of the House of Representatives sign the discharge petition, the bill will move to the floor, where it will be considered. Presently, 199 members have signed, including all but two Republican members, but only two Democrats: Reps. Dan Lipinski of Illinois and Collin Peterson of Minnesota.
The petition opened for signatures on April 2.
In an April 2 statement, Archbishop Joseph Naumann, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ pro-life committee, called for the bill’s passage.
“Our nation is better than infanticide. Babies born alive during the process of abortion deserve the same care and medical assistance as any other newborn. To not provide care is a lethal form of discrimination against the circumstances of the child’s birth.”
“I strongly urge all representatives to sign this petition and then vote for the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. This bill would add specific requirements to help ensure that babies born alive after an abortion attempt can have a fair shot at life,” he said.
“The purpose of this campaign is to really focus on the House,” SBA List Vice President of Communications Mallory Quigley told CNA. “This is where the pressure point is now because the Senate’s already voted. We think this should be bipartisan.”
Quigley said that signing the petition would not present an electoral problem for Democrats, “especially for people who were elected in Republican-leaning districts.”
The new campaign, which will feature digital ads and events aimed at explaining what the born-alive bill is, is focused on representatives in what SBA List considers to be persuadable districts.
U.S. Reps. Cindy Axne, Iowa-03, Collin Allred, Texas-32, Abby Finkenauer, Iowa-01, Lizzie Fletcher, Texas-07, Conor Lamb, Pa.-17, Lucy McBath, Ga-06, Elissa Slotkin, Mich.-08, Abigail Spanberger, Va.-07, and Haley Stevens, Mich.-11, have been singled out for attention, with each of them representing states won by President Donald Trump during the 2016 election.
“This is a very moderate proposal that we think they ought to support,” Quigley told CNA. She said the timing of the ad campaign was centered around the congressional recess, when the members would be in their districts.
“Many Democrats who represent Republican-leaning districts have not yet signed the discharge petition to hold a vote on the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act,” said SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser in the press release.
The bill’s lead sponsor, Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Mo., said that her legislation is “a measure that has passed with bipartisan support in the past.”
Presently, 26 states have some sort of legal protection for babies who survive abortions. Wagner said that it is important that this be extended throughout the entire country.
Dannenfelser said the bill “is urgently needed” as lawmakers in New York, Virginia and other states push a “radical agenda of abortion on demand through the moment of birth and even infanticide.”
She added: “The overwhelming majority of Americans — including 70% of Democrats — want Congress to protect vulnerable babies who survive abortions, yet Speaker Pelosi and House Democratic Party leaders have repeatedly blocked this compassionate, common-ground bill.”
She referred to the Democrats blocking the legislation as “extremists” who are out of step with their own party.
Polls have consistently shown that the majority of Americans, including Democrats and even those who call themselves “pro-choice,” are opposed to late-term abortion.
The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act would criminalize doctors who do not provide age-appropriate medical care to an infant that is born alive after an abortion. It also would provide the mother of the infant the ability to file a civil suit against her doctor. It does not criminalize abortion nor add any new restrictions on abortion.