For the 80th time, House Republicans sought to require doctors to provide medical care for newborns who survive botched abortions, and for the 80th time, House Democrats defeated the measure, days after Senate Democrats blocked a similar effort.
The House voted 220-187 Friday to reject a motion to recommit introduced by Republican Reps. Ann Wagner of Missouri and Greg Walden of Oregon, who sought to amend an unrelated bill with the born-alive language.
The vote marked the 80th time House Democrats have beaten back Republican attempts to consider the measure since the Democrats took over the House in January 2019, said Mark Bednar, spokesman for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
“Democrats AGAIN blocked my bill requiring lifesaving medical care for babies who are born-alive,” tweeted Ms. Wagner of Missouri. “It breaks my heart to find that we must defend lifesaving care for newborn babies. I will not stop until we get a vote on this critically important bill.”
The vote saw three Democrats — Reps. Dan Lipinski, Ben McAdams and Collin Peterson — and cross party lines and vote in favor of the born-alive motion. Rep. Justin Amash, a Republican turned independent, also supported the motion.
All 220 votes against the motion to recommit were cast by Democrats.
On Tuesday, Senate Democrats blocked an effort to hold a vote on a born-alive bill introduced by Sen. Ben Sasse, Nebraska Republican. The measure received 56 votes, including those of three Democrats, falling short of the 60 required to force a vote on the legislation.
Both the House and Senate measures would require medical practitioners to provide the same care to infants born in spite of abortion attempts that would be offered to any other newborn, and impose criminal penalties for doctors who fail to do so.
The pregnant woman would not be prosecuted, but would be able to file civil actions against doctors who failed to provide appropriate care.
Foes argue that such protections are legally unnecessary and politically motivated, and promote a “false narrative” about late-term abortion, while supporters cite comments made by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam in a January 2019 interview on WTOP radio.
The Democratic governor, a pediatric neurosurgeon, said that in such cases, the newborn would be “resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother.”
House Minority Whip Steve Scalise has introduced a discharge petition that has gathered 204 signatures, short of the 218 needed to force a House floor vote.
Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, said the latest vote would be reflected on the organization’s National Pro-Life Scorecard.
“Americans of all political stripes are disgusted by this extreme, inhumane position and we are confident that will be reflected at the ballot box this November,” Ms. Dannenfelser said. “President Trump stands ready to sign the popular, compassionate Born-Alive legislation into law. It is national Democrats — from the party’s leading presidential contenders to Nancy Pelosi — who stand squarely in the way of protecting these innocent children from being left to die.”