This week, the House will vote on the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act (H.R. 4712), introduced by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.). This legislation requires that appropriate medical care be given to any child who survived an attempted abortion, and establishes criminal penalties for health care practitioners that violate this requirement (the mother of a child born alive may not be prosecuted) and a civil right of action to enforce the law.
While the debate over the legalization of abortion continues this week with the March for Life, it is unconscionable that under current law a health care practitioner is unaccountable for refusing to give proper care to a baby born alive. Whether they believe in abortion or not, health care practitioners must do everything in their power to save a life after it is born.
In her report “Defending Life: Opportunities for the 115th Congress,” research associate in the DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society at The Heritage Foundation Melanie Israel provides a helpful background and summary on the bill:
In 2002, President Bush signed legislation that extended legal protection to infants born alive at any stage of development, including after an abortion. However, as the disturbing case of Kermit Gosnell has shown, babies continue to be born alive and then killed after attempted abortions or are purposely delivered alive and left to die. The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act augments the 2002 law by providing for criminal consequences for health care providers who violate the law and requires that proper medical care be given by the health care practitioner present if an infant is born alive.
While Congress must do everything in its power to limit abortion, especially late-term abortions when the child is capable of pain, this bill is about protecting the life of a child that has been born. Even members of Congress who believe in abortion should see the wisdom in supporting a bill that saves a child’s life after a failed attempted abortion.
It is stunning this piece of legislation isn’t law already. Israel concludes in her report: “In a civilized society, treating a baby born alive after an abortion with the same care that any other newborn baby would receive should not be controversial.”
The Heritage Foundation: Defending Life: Opportunities for the 115th Congress (2017)