(CNSNews.com) — Republican House members held a press conference this week to announce the filing of a discharge petition to allow the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act to be voted on. Twenty-five previous attempts to bring the bill to a vote were shut down by Democrats, who have a majority in the House.
The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Mo.), “will protect babies born alive during attempted abortions from being killed,” said Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), the House Republican Whip. “But Nancy Pelosi refuses to bring it to the floor for a vote,” he said. “That's why I filed a discharge petition to bypass her.”
“Where does your representative stand on stopping infanticide?” Scalise tweeted on Tuesday. The discharge petition will “force every member to go on record & tell the American people EXACTLY where they stand on this barbaric practice. #LetUsVote #EndInfanticide.”
On Tuesday, all of the House Republicans except for 15 members were listed as co-sponsors of the legislation, as were three Democrats.
On Wednesday, Scalise tweeted that House Republicans had “formed a long line on the House floor” to sign the petition “that will force a vote on the Born Alive Act & make all members tell the American people where they stand on infanticide. Now let’s see if Democrats will join us. #LetUsVote.”
According to the legislation, H.B. 962, “If an abortion results in the live birth of an infant, the infant is a legal person for all purposes under the laws of the United States, and entitled to all the protections of such laws.”
At the press conference, Scalise was joined by many GOP House members, including Rep. Wagner, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), and Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.). Several survivors of late-term abortion, including Gianna Jessen, also attended.
“Twenty-five, twenty-five is the number of times we have asked on the floor in the chamber to save children who are born alive who survived an abortion,” said Rep. McCarthy. “Twenty-five times is the number we have heard ‘no’ from Democrats leading the House. Today, it all changes.”
“A discharge petition simply needs 218 members of Congress to sign a piece of paper to allow a bill to come to the floor for debate,” he said.
Maureen Ferguson, a senior policy adviser with the Catholic Association, distributed a statement at the press conference. It partly reads, “Pro-life lawmakers, led by Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Mo.), are utilizing highly unusual procedural tactics to demand a vote on the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors bill. It is shocking and inhumane for Speaker Pelosi to block a vote on this bill, which would protect babies who are accidentally born alive after an attempted abortion.”
On the House floor on Tuesday, Rep. Scalise explained again why the discharge petition was needed and why a vote should occur on the bill.
“People across every spectrum, Republicans, Democrats, independent, even people who would align themselves as pro-choice believe it's wrong to murder the baby after it's born alive,” said Scalise. “And, yet it's still allowed. There should be no reason that this is a gray issue.”
“How could that be in the United States of America that a baby born alive can still be killed after it's born outside of the womb?” he said. “This issue transcends the abortion debate.”
Congresswoman Martha Roby (R-Ala.) tweeted, “When we're talking about protecting newborns, we're no longer debating the abortion issue. I'm proud @SteveScalise is filing a discharge petition TODAY to force a vote on the #BornAliveAct. Soon, Americans will know where each of us stands on infanticide.”