- The Washington Times - Friday, June 15, 2001

House and Senate Republicans are moving legislation to protect infants who survive abortions.
The bills introduced yesterday would grant federal protection to newborns who are fully outside the mother, regardless of their stage of development.
"This is a bill of compassion, a bill that says all of Americas children are precious and should be protected," said Rep. Steve Chabot, Ohio Republican and sponsor of the House measure.
The legislation is needed because of testimony received by the Judiciary Committees subcommittee on the Constitution, said Mr. Chabot, subcommittee chairman.
Several eyewitnesses testified during hearings last year that infants who survive abortions are allowed to die.
"On one occasion, a living infant was found in a soiled utility closet, and on another occasion, a living infant was found on the edge of a sink. One baby was wrapped in a disposable towel and thrown in the trash," Mr. Chabot said.
A similar measure passed the House last year on a 252-172 vote.
Sen. Rick Santorum, Pennsylvania Republican, introduced a companion measure in the Senate, but the bill languished in committee.
With Democrats now in control of the Senate, a spokesman for Mr. Santorum said, the senator and his staff will need to "redouble our efforts to educate the members on the importance of this bill."
"I never imagined that a bill that protects the life of a newborn baby would be necessary," Mr. Santorum said.
Senators on both sides of the abortion debate should agree that when the child is outside the mother, "it is a person deserving the protections and dignity afforded to all other Americans," he said.
"However, it has become clear through recent court decisions, congressional testimony and the debate over the horrific partial-birth abortion procedure that the lines defining when a human life begins have been blurred to the point that it is now necessary to pass legislation in order to guarantee legal protections for newborn babies," he said.
The legislation is opposed by pro-choice groups, who say it is an attempt to criminalize abortion.
The National Organization for Women is urging members to contact their senators about the "dangerous" bill, which they say is a "poorly disguised attempt to elevate fetal rights."
"We should not be fooled by their rhetoric. Anti-choice lawmakers introduced this bill with the specific intent of furthering their goal of ending legal abortion," said Kate Michelman, president of the National Abortion Rights Action League.
"This act is part of a concerted effort to capitalize on the anti-choice presidency of George W. Bush. Anti-choice lawmakers know that now is their chance to enact sweeping restrictions on choice and lay the groundwork for an eventual challenge to Roe ," Miss Michelman said.
The bills are supported by the Family Research Council, the Christian Coalition of America and the National Right to Life Committee.

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