Protecting Babies Who Survive an Abortion Should Not Be Controversial

COMMENTARY Life

Protecting Babies Who Survive an Abortion Should Not Be Controversial

Feb 25th, 2019 2 min read
COMMENTARY BY
Melanie Israel

Research Associate

Melanie is a research associate in the DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society at The Heritage Foundation.
Most Americans can see this is nonsensical, but for the professional abortion lobby, it’s par for the course. Ariel Skelley/Getty Images

Key Takeaways

Current federal policy does not do enough to protect these babies.

It’s hard to believe anyone would oppose such a policy.

Failing to protect the most vulnerable and innocent among us is a rejection of the most basic human decency.

The Senate is set to vote Monday on the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, a bill that would provide desperately needed protections for babies who survive an abortion attempt. Such a policy should not be remotely controversial.

Current federal policy does not do enough to protect these babies. The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act would solve the problem by requiring proper medical care be given to infants who survive an abortion, and establishing criminal consequences for practitioners who fail to do so.

It’s hard to believe anyone would oppose such a policy. Yet well-funded abortion advocates like Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Federation, who are radically out of step with the national consensus, have convinced some in Congress that requiring medical care for babies who survive abortion is an assault on “reproductive health care.”

Yes, you read that right.

They oppose making federal law crystal clear to support the lives of all babies after they’ve been born. And they oppose this under the vague guise of “women’s health.”

Most Americans can see this is nonsensical, but for the professional abortion lobby, it’s par for the course.

Lawmakers should reject such incoherent extremism and do the right thing. It should not require handwringing or debate to agree that U.S. federal policy wholly rejects infanticide in every circumstance.

Some lawmakers who oppose this bill say such babies are already protected under the 2002 Born-Alive Infants Protection Act. But they are mistaken.

That law clarifies that all infants born at any stage of development are in fact “persons” under the law, regardless of the circumstances surrounding their birth—including an attempted abortion. But it does not specify that doctors must provide care for such infants, so in effect the baby can be left to die after birth without any clear legal consequences.

Others object by saying this is a hypothetical problem, that infants don’t really survive abortions. But the data show they are wrong.

Between 2003 and 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recorded 143 cases of infants surviving abortion and acknowledged that the total number was likely underestimated. Florida reported 17 cases of abortion survivals between 2017 and 2018. Arizona reported 10 cases in 2017. Minnesota reported three cases in 2017. Oklahoma reported at least one case in 2017.

While data is limited because the vast majority of states do not record or publish abortion data, these cases alone confirm that, despite an abortionist’s best efforts, an abortion procedure does not always result in a dead baby. The public record is undeniable: Babies can be born alive after an abortion attempt.

Others protest that the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act would somehow restrict a woman’s access to abortion. But that is unfounded. The bill would simply ensure that a living newborn baby, regardless of the circumstances of his or her birth or whether or not they were “wanted,” receives proper medical care.

The vast majority of Americans support protecting living babies from infanticide, regardless of whether they identify as pro-life or pro-choice. The abortion lobby is the radical outlier.

Rather than listen to well-funded professional abortion advocates, lawmakers should listen to the American people they represent. Failing to protect the most vulnerable and innocent among us is a rejection of the most basic human decency.

This piece originally appeared in The Daily Signal