House passes bill to protect babies who survive abortion, condemns violence against pro-life clinics
With a new Republican majority, the U.S House of Representatives passed pro-life measures on Wednesday, including one aimed at protecting babies who survive an abortion and one condemning violence against pro-life charities and churches.
The lower chamber passed the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act in a vote of 220 yeas to 210 nays. All Republicans and one Democrat — Rep. Henry Cuellar of Texas — voted in favor of the measure.
Also known as House Resolution 26, if enacted, the act would require an abortion provider to try to save the life of a baby who survives an abortion procedure. Health providers would be required to exercise the same degree of care as reasonably provided to any other child born alive at the same gestational age and ensure that such children are admitted to a hospital.
"Whoever intentionally performs or attempts to perform an overt act that kills a child born alive … shall be punished … for intentionally killing or attempting to kill a human being," reads the bill.
The bill also states that th mother of the child "may not be prosecuted" and that she "may, in a civil action against any person who committed the violation, obtain appropriate relief."
The bill is unlikely to become law as it would have to pass the Democrat-controlled Senate and even then, would likely be vetoed by Democratic President Joe Biden.
Similar legislation has failed in the past when brought before the Senate, with critics arguing that the measure is unnecessary given that there are already laws against infanticide.
The Republican majority also passed a resolution condemning the recent wave of violence and vandalism against pro-life pregnancy care centers, churches and other entities that oppose abortion.
The resolution passed with a vote of 222-219, with only three Democrats — Vicente Gonzael of Texas, Chrissy Houlahan of Pennsylvania and Marie Perez of Washington — joining all Republicans to condemn the violence.
The resolution also called on the Biden administration "to use all appropriate law enforcement authorities to uphold public safety and to protect the rights of pro-life facilities, groups, and churches."
The wave of vandalism and arson targeting pro-life organizations was sparked after an unknown party leaked a draft of the U.S. Supreme Court opinion in Dobbs v. JacksonWomen's Health that indicated that the highest court in the nation was going to overturn Roe v. Wade. The 1973 decision made abortion a national right.
The vandalism continued to escalate after the Supreme Court released its Dobbs opinion on June 24, in which the court overturned Roe by concluding that abortion was not a constitutional right.
Many pro-life activists and politicians believe that the Biden administration and federal investigators have not done enough to hold those who attacked and threatened pro-life groups accountable.
"Rather than supporting the organizations that are supporting our most vulnerable, Democrats and the Biden Administration are turning a blind eye to the violence targeting these places," stated an entry on Republican Majority Leader Steve Scalise's website.
"It's time for the House of Representatives to condemn this violence and put the needs of women and infants ahead of the outrage machine from far-left, pro-abortion activists."
Others, including Democrat Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher of Texas, believe the resolution does not go far enough to condemn all forms of partisan violence, especially the decades of protests and acts of violence against abortion clinics and providers.
"When I was a teenager, I stood in defense of our local Planned Parenthood as anti-abortion protestors tried to chain themselves to the doors to prevent women from going in, not only to get abortion care but to get their pap smears, their birth control, HIV tests and other services," she stated on the floor.
"A few years later, a well-known anti-abortion activist drove a van through the front door of that same Planned Parenthood. … I welcome the opportunity to vote on legislation that condemns all forms of political violence."
House Republicans also defeated an effort by Democrats to advance legislation that would have significantly expanded legal access to abortion.
Known as the Women's Health Protection Act, the measure was defeated, mostly along party lines, as nearly every Republican opposed the measure and nearly every Democrat supported it.
The Republican Party took control of the House of Representatives in the midterm elections last November, one of the few notable gains for an election season many conservatives considered disappointing.
The 118th Congress began on a controversial start, as it took 15 ballots to elect Republican Kevin McCarthy of California as House speaker, the first time it has taken more than one vote since 1923.