- The Washington Times - Friday, February 8, 2019

House Republicans sought once again Friday to hold a floor vote on a bill protecting newborns who survive abortion, and once again House Democrats rebuffed the GOP’s request.

That made three times in as many days that the House Democratic leadership refused to permit the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act to skip the committee votes and proceed directly to the floor, but House Republicans plan to keep trying.

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise reiterated that he would seek to file a discharge petition if Democrats continue to reject efforts to bring the legislation to the floor for consideration by unanimous consent.

“I have made it very clear I will be filing a discharge petition if we can’t get to the point where we get this bill brought to the floor in a quicker way,” Mr. Scalise said. “There’s a quicker way to do this and address this problem. Again, if you ask most pro-choice people in America, they don’t think it’s right that you can kill a baby after it comes out of the womb.”

Certainly there is no shortage of House Republicans seeking to force a vote on H.R. 962, sponsored by Rep. Ann Wagner, Missouri Republican, in the wake of sweeping pro-choice legislation in New York and Virginia making it easier to obtain late-term abortions.

The House bill mirrors legislation introduced by Sen. Ben Sasse, Nebraska Republican, that would subject doctors to criminal penalties if they allow infants born alive after an attempted abortion to die rather than provide them with medical care.

Sen. Patty Murray, Washington Democrat, blocked Mr. Sasse’s bill after it was brought to the floor Monday for unanimous consent, saying there are anti-infanticide laws already on the books.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said that the bill would be referred to committee for consideration through the regular legislative process, which would appear to doom the proposal, given that the House is controlled by pro-choice Democrats.

“We have a process,” Mr. Hoyer said. “The bill has just been introduced. It will be referred to committee and the committee will have it under regular order to consider. I cannot predict what the committee will do with that bill, but I understand the gentleman’s strong feelings and I respect those.”

He noted that a similar bill failed last year even though Republicans controlled the House, Senate and White House, while Mr. Scalise countered that the legislation did win House approval by 241-183, with six Democrats voting in favor. The bill died in the Senate.

Since then, however, the issue has drawn fresh public outrage as a result of a state legislative drive to guard against potential pro-life rulings by President Trump-appointed judges by codifying and expanding abortion rights.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill last month loosening restrictions on late-term abortions, while Virginia Del. Kathy Tran said at a hearing that her legislation would allow the procedure even after labor had begun.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, a former pediatric neurologist, inflamed the controversy when he said last week that a baby born alive after a botched abortion would be resuscitated “if that’s what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue.”

Rep. Mark Green, Tennessee Republican and himself a doctor, said in a floor speech Friday that “surely every member of this body can agree that at the very least, babies once born should be protected.”

“Like many Americans, chills ran through my spine when I heard Gov. Northam casually endorse killing a baby after it was born,” Mr. Green said. “It’s been over a week since those comments, and I ask, why are our Democratic colleagues still silent?” 

After Mr. Trump blasted the New York law in his State of the Union address, Mr. Cuomo fired back by insisting the measure did not allow abortion “minutes before birth” and accusing Republicans of “spreading falsehoods.”

“As part of their attack on women’s rights, Mr. Trump and his allies are intentionally spreading lies about New York’s Reproductive Health Act,” Mr. Cuomo said in a New York Times op-ed. “Their goal is to end all legal abortion in our nation.”

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