Senate Democrats Kill Two Pro-Life Bills

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by David Nussman  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  February 26, 2020   

Late-term abortion ban, protection for abortion survivors lose in procedural votes

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WASHINGTON (ChurchMilitant.com) - Pro-lifers are outraged after Senate Democrats blocked pro-life measures.

The U.S. Senate had procedural votes Tuesday for two pro-life bills: one banning gruesome late-term abortions, and the other protecting babies born alive after attempted abortions.

Both bills fell flat after pro-life Republicans were unable to get cloture — a decision to move on from debating to voting, which requires 60 senators' support. 

In both cases, the cloture vote had 53 yeas and 44 nays — seven short of what was needed.

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Father Frank Pavone, national director of pro-life group Priests for Life, commented on the bills' failure: "You would think that those elected to public service would know the difference between serving the public and killing the public. With few exceptions, that is apparently not the case among Democrats in the U.S. Senate."

Likewise, Family Research Council's president Tony Perkins said in a statement, "Refusing to support a measure that would provide life-saving care to an infant who survives an abortion and is born alive, is condoning infanticide."

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) moved for Tuesday's vote, apparently as a way to apply pressure to Democrat colleagues from more conservative-leaning states.

You would think that those elected to public service would know the difference between serving the public and killing the public.

"Today, every senator will be able to take a clear moral stand," McConnell said on the Senate floor Tuesday morning. "We'll have the chance to proceed to common-sense legislation that would move our nation closer to the international mainstream with respect to defending innocent human life."

Though neither bill made it through the Senate, several Democrats did support cloture for the pro-life measures.

Two Democrats, Pennsylvania's Sen. Bob Casey and West Virginia's Sen. Joe Manchin, voted in favor of cloture for both bills.

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Fr. Frank Pavone, Director of Priests for Life

Alabama's Democratic senator Doug Jones voted in favor of cloture for the first bill but against it for the second.

The first bill, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, could have banned abortions in most cases after 20 weeks of pregnancy — the point at which the unborn baby is able to feel physical pain, according to some scientists.

When a previous version of this bill was introduced to the Senate back in 2018, it was shot down in similar fashion.

On Tuesday, McConnell said of the proposal, "Do our Democratic colleagues really believe that what our country needs is a radical fringe position on elective abortion that we only share with China, North Korea and four other countries in the world?"

"If my Democratic colleagues block the Senate from even proceeding to debate this legislation later today, the message they send will be chilling and clear," McConnell remarked. "The radical demands of the far Left will drown out common sense and the views of most Americans."

To get the measure up for a vote, McConnell will first need all 57 Republican senators and at least seven Democrats to support a roll-call vote.

The second bill, the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, would have required medical providers to take care of babies who survive attempted abortions. 

The bill states:

Any infant born alive after an abortion or within a hospital, clinic or other facility has the same claim to the protection of the law that would arise for any newborn, or for any person who comes to a hospital, clinic or other facility for screening and treatment or otherwise becomes a patient within its care.

A previous version of this measure was shot down in a procedural vote in February last year.

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