(CNSNews.com) -- On Monday night, U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) used her authority to table a bill in the Senate that would have prohibited the killing of a child that survives an abortion and instituted penalties for any health worker who killed or tried to kill a baby that survived an abortion.
The legislation, the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, was introduced by Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.). When Sasse, on the Senate floor, asked for unanimous consent for the bill to move forward to committee, Sen. Murray objected and did not give her consent. As a result, the bill was stopped.
S. 130 would have condemned infanticide and ensured that babies born alive after an attempted abortion were legally protected and received “the same degree of professional skill, care, and diligence” from health care practitioners as would “any other child born alive at the same gestational age.”
The bill would have also required that, after receiving this care, abortion survivors were “immediately transported and admitted to a hospital.”
Earlier on Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) expressed support for the bill.
“I hope that none of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle invent – invent – any reasons to block this request later today,” McConnell said. “That would make quite a disturbing statement. If they do inexplicably block Senator Sasse’s effort, I can assure them that this will not be the last time we try to ensure that all newborns are afforded this fundamental legal protection.”
Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) also supported the bill, which, he noted, “takes no position on abortion.” He pointed out that, under the proposed law, even if a child is born “in the most dangerous place in the world for an infant – that is, a Planned Parenthood clinic – he or she becomes a citizen of the United States.”
“Boy or girl, black or white, rich or poor: each deserves – paraphrasing the immortal words of Abraham Lincoln – an unfettered start, and a fair chance, in the race of life,” he said.
While introducing the bill, which was co-sponsored by 42 Republican senators, Sasse argued that it “shouldn’t be hard” to unanimously “condemn infanticide,” regardless of one’s political party.
“This isn’t about Republicans and Democrats,” he insisted. “We are way beyond that. Everyone in the Senate ought to be able to say unequivocally that the little baby deserves life, that she has rights, and that killing her is wrong.”
Currently, under H.R. 2175, the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act of 2002, infants born alive are considered persons who are entitled to legal protections. However, pro-abortion politicians have recently introduced and passed laws that erode these protections and allow newborns to be left to die.
For example, New York’s Reproductive Health Act, signed into law on Jan. 22, repealed section 4164 of New York’s public health law, which had required that babies born alive after an abortion attempt receive “immediate medical care” and “immediate legal protection.”
Additionally, a bill proposed last week in Virginia, H.B. 2491, would have allowed abortion up to birth. Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D), while discussing this bill, suggested that a mother and her physician could choose to allow a newborn baby to die.
Sasse emphasized that S. 130 was not about abortion, but about infanticide.
“We are not talking about second-trimester abortion,” he said. “We are not having some big, complicated discussion about a mother's reproductive freedom. As important as all of those debates are, we are actually talking about babies that have been born.”
“Please don’t let Governor Northam define you,” Sasse implored his colleagues. “Don’t let an extremist pro-abortion lobby and pledge hold you hostage. Please don’t protect infanticide.”
After Sasse finished speaking, Murray stood up and objected to the bill.
“Mr. President, we have laws against infanticide in this country,” Murray said. “This is a gross misinterpretation of the actual language of the bill that is being asked to be considered, and, therefore, I object.”
Her Senate colleagues were quick to respond. Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) said she was “appalled” by the Senate debate.
“Many have often referred to this as the world’s greatest deliberative body, but let me be clear, folks,” Ernst said. “There is nothing great, there is nothing moral or even humane about the discussion we have before us today.”
“We have moved beyond all common sense, that this body can no longer unanimously condemn murder,” she added.
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) pointed out that the U.S. Constitution and “the whole edifice of American liberty” depend on the belief that “every life matters.”
“We believe and it is our pride to believe that every person has dignity and worth,” Hawley said.
“Let us not go back to the darkness and cruelty of the past,” he added.
Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said the bill “is not about pro-life and pro choice,” but “pro-humanity.”
“To get to the point at which we are discussing whether children live or die based on what they look like at birth and then, if they don’t quite look right, we will take those lives is inhumane and is beneath us as a society,” Lankford said.
Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) called on Americans to let their senators know “this is a step too far.”
“I ask for the folks across this country to make their voices heard because this is a tragedy,” he said.
Sasse said it was “gross” that his colleagues refused to condemn infanticide, and said he and others would “continue to fight for a rollcall vote” to pass the bill if they could not pass it by unanimous consent.