Anti-abortion measure dies in U.S. Senate

February 26, 2019 GMT

Anti-abortion measure dies in U.S. Senate

WASHINGTON, D. C. - In a political exercise for the benefit of social conservatives, the U.S. Senate on Monday tried but failed to move forward with a bill called the “Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act,” that would have required doctors to try saving the life of infants born alive during abortions or face potential prison time.

Nobody expected the measure would get the 60 votes needed to proceed, but the vote occurred anyway. It failed, 53-44, with support from Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman and opposition from Ohio Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown.


In a past statement of support for the bill, Portman said it was “about treating all human life with dignity, no matter how vulnerable.” A Brown spokeswoman said he voted against the bill because he believes health care decisions are between women and their doctors and “politicians don’t really have a place in there.”

Republicans are trying to use late-term abortions as a weapon against Democrats since state legislators in New York and Virginia moved forward with efforts to ease abortion restrictions. The Republican National Committee put out a press release last month that noted Brown was among a group of 2020 presidential hopefuls in the Senate who co-sponsored a bill that would overturn many state laws aimed at curtailing abortion.

Women should have the freedom to make personal, private health decisions, and those decisions should be between them and their doctors, not their legislators. That’s true today, and every day.— Sherrod Brown (@SenSherrodBrown) February 25, 2019

The release claimed Brown’s stance showed “yet again that he’s just another Chuck Schumer lackey fighting for his radical D.C. agenda, not representing Ohioans who make up one of the most pro-life​ states in the country.”

A version of the bill the Senate sidelined on Monday passed the House of Representatives when it was controlled by Republicans. Now that Democrats sympathetic to abortion rights control the House of Representatives, its consideration there is unlikely. Democratic Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland has denied Republican requests to bring the bill directly to the floor, saying it will be referred to the House Judiciary Committee. That committee’s chairman, Jerrold Nadler of New York, is a vocal abortion rights advocate.

Abortion rights groups said the bill was a thinly veiled attempt to shut down abortion clinics around the nation.


“We must call out today’s vote for what it is: a direct attack on women’s health and rights,” said a statement from Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Dr. Leana Wen. “This legislation is based on lies and a misinformation campaign, aimed at shaming women and criminalizing doctors for a practice that doesn’t exist in medicine or reality.”

Groups that oppose abortion were eager for the Senate vote, with the Family Research Council claiming the proposed law would “stop infanticide.” But even some of the bill’s supporters had questions about how the it was handled.

While American Family Association President Tim Wildmon said the vote would “let voters know which Democrats and Republicans refuse to protect innocent life,” he said the fact that Senate Republicans didn’t bring it to the floor after it previously passed the House “brings into question how committed these lawmakers are to the pro-life movement.”

BREAKING: The #BornAliveAct failed in the Senate today by a vote of 53-44. These pro-abortion extremist Senators voted against legislation that would have protected human beings born-alive after botched abortions.— Right to Life (@nrlc) February 26, 2019