The Senate may have already killed its Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection bill, but the issue is far from dead. In a new op-ed from Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), Republicans make it clear: the fight over infanticide is just beginning.
“Liberal states and politicians argue that unwanted babies who survive abortions – including late-term abortions – should not receive the highest level of medical care and would simply be 'made comfortable' before they are murdered. While horrific, this isn't far-fetched. Twenty-four states do not have explicit protections for live births,” the duo points out. “It is appalling, and Congress must act. That is why we support the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. It should be common sense in a just and moral society.”
Democrats don't want a vote on infanticide, they explain, “because they know the rest of the country doesn't agree with them – 77 percent of Americans support protections for abortion survivors and 62 percent oppose late-term abortion.” But there's a way around Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) “iron grip” in the House, the men write. It's called the discharge petition. “If a majority of the Members of Congress sign the discharge petition on the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, the Speaker will be forced to bring it to the floor for a vote. Whip Scalise has begun the process of a discharge petition in the House, which will become eligible for signatures early in April.”
That's a public process, thanks to work that Senator Inhofe did in the 1990s. Every signature will be out in the open, in plain view of voters. Do your representatives just give lip service to ending infanticide – or do they mean it? Americans are about to find out.
Meanwhile, in the states, voters are getting a good look at where their local leaders stand on the killing of newborn babies. And in places like Rhode Island, New Mexico, and Illinois, it isn't good. After being stalled in the House Judiciary Committee for a month (mainly because of backlash), the smallest state in America is coming after its children – in the womb and just out of it. Like New York, Rhode Island would take out any reference to unborn babies in its homicide law, repeal a ban on abortion coverage in insurance, add a vague “health” exception for doctors to destroy life right up to the moment of birth, and change the parental consent law on abortion to include grandparents and siblings.
Over in Illinois, where the governor is vying for the title of “most pro-abortion state in America,” the Democratic supermajority looks ready to deliver on its extremism where human life is concerned. If the Reproductive Health Act passes, abortion would be considered a “fundamental right” in Barack Obama's home state. It would trump everything – including pro-lifers' First Amendment conscience rights. For people who have moral objections – in the health care industry, especially – “they basically are saying we don't have any rights,” objected the Catholic Conference of Illinois. And, to top it all off, taxpayers wouldn't just be on the hook for abortion – but late-term abortion too. “They would be converting the ‘Land of Lincoln’ into the ‘Abortion Capital of America.’”
In New Mexico, the debate is a little more heated. After a committee hearing that was so full overflow seating was necessary, state senators were warned that party majorities don't make a radical abortion bill a sure thing. “You can't make assumptions based on political party,” Dr. Sandra Penn argued. “Just because someone has ‘Democrat’ next to their name doesn't mean it's a sure thing.” For now, the bill to overturn a ban on abortion seems headed for the full state Senate floor. But that didn't deter pro-lifers, who went to the rotunda after the committee hearing to pray for the senators to see the light.
In the U.S. House, leaders may not yet see the light, but they will see thousands of newborn baby hats – thanks to all of you who've supported our End Birth Day Abortion campaign. If you haven't had a chance to add your voice, click over to our website and join us!
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.
Editor's Note: This piece was originally published by the Family Research Council.