U.S. Senator Durbin Fights Against Care for Babies Born Alive

Written by Alex Newman

Federal lawmakers behind a bill to protect babies born alive after botched abortions had reason to believe that it was a relatively uncontroversial policy measure, but Democrats believed otherwise.

Inaccurately calling the legislation an “abortion” bill, the senior Illinois Democrat in the U.S. Senate and forty of his colleagues made clear that even protecting the lives of living children is no longer uncontroversial in America today — at least in Washington, D.C.

Instead of voting to protect babies outside of the womb, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat who serves as minority whip in the Senate, got into a heated 20-minute argument on the floor with the Republican sponsor of the legislation.

Trying to portray the bill as an attack on the ability of women to kill their unborn babies while demanding hearings and even more federal money for “maternal health,” Senator Durbin did everything possible to shift the subject away from infanticide.

U.S. Senator Ben Sasse, a Republican from Nebraska and the chief sponsor of the legislation, would not let him muddy the waters. “These are about babies that are born that are outside their mother,” Sasse explained, noting that the bill does not interfere at all with abortions.

“What’s actually happening is the senior senator from Illinois is wanting to obscure the debate because he wants to use euphemisms about choice, so you don’t have to admit to the American public that what’s happening on the floor today is probably that, like last year, 44 Democrats are going to filibuster an anti-infanticide bill,” Sasse added.

He was right. Durbin and forty other Democrats including U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois joined forces to filibuster the legislation, sending it down to defeat. Just three Democrats, mostly from conservative states, voted in favor of the measure to protect abortion survivors.

The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act was intended to ensure that doctors are required to provide medical care to children who survive an attempt to kill them in the womb. It is hardly controversial among the public. Over three in four abortion supporters agree with the policy proposal, according a poll cited on the U.S. Senate floor.

But in their apparent effort to ensure that live babies can be left to die after botched abortions fail to kill them, the Durbin-led Democrats did everything possible to paint it as more than that. On the floor of the U.S. Senate, Durbin even suggested it was just a “gotcha” vote to use against Democrats at the election.

It was not just Democrats trying to sow confusion, though. CNN reported that the legislation in question would require abortionists to provide medical care to “a fetus that was born.” Sasse described the choice of words as “insane,” noting that fetus is a term used to describe pre-born babies.

“The piece of legislation we’re voting on today, the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, is not about abortion,” Sasse re-iterated. “The bill we’re voting on doesn’t change anyone’s access to abortion. It doesn’t have anything to do with Roe v. Wade. It is about babies that are already born.”

“We’re talking about killing babies that are born,” the U.S. Senator from Nebraska continued. “Is it okay in the eyes of the United States Senate for us to say, ‘Well you can’t actively kill the little baby, you can’t take a pillow and put it over her face and smother her to death, but you can back away and kill her that way?’”

Sasse also blasted Ralph Northam, the “disgraced” Democratic governor of Virginia, who shocked the nation last year by suggesting that mothers and doctors should be able to choose infanticide even after the child is born.

Numerous abortion victims survive the attempts to kill them. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), in the eight states that report the data, almost 150 babies survived botched abortions between 2003 and 2014. Fox Sports recently came under fire for refusing to air an ad featuring abortion survivors.

Even President Donald Trump joined the fray after the vote in Congress. “Senate Democrats just voted against legislation to prevent the killing of newborn infant children,” he said on Twitter. “The Democrat position on abortion is now so extreme that they don’t mind executing babies AFTER birth.”

Trump also promised that the American people would not forget it. “This will be remembered as one of the most shocking votes in the history of Congress,” the president warned. “If there is one thing we should all agree on, it’s protecting the lives of innocent babies.”

(Watch the video of U.S. Sen. Sasse’s full statement HERE.)

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