Two recent Congressional votes, one in the House of Representatives and one in the Senate, revealed a lot about the extreme position the Democratic Party has adopted on abortion.
The first vote, in the House on January 19, was on HR 4712, called the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. The bill proposes to protect children who survive abortions. Why is this bill necessary? The Born-Alive Infants Protection Act was passed in 2002 and signed into law by President George W. Bush. While that act did declare that a child who survives an abortion is a legal person and merits all the protections of a legal person, including medical care necessary to preserve his or her life, it included no penalties. So, abortionists could simply kill or allow to die a child who had survived an abortion with impunity. HR 4712 includes penalties for anyone who criminally kills or neglects to provide life-preserving medical attention to an infant who survives an abortion. It also mandates a process for informing on those who criminally kill or neglect these children.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said, “doctors who fail to provide medical care to newborns will be held criminally accountable. There is absolutely no ambiguity here. This is about protecting babies who are born and alive, and nobody should be against that.”
However, only six Democrats voted in favor of HR 4712. Most Democrats claimed that the bill was unnecessary, either because few children survive abortions or because it’s already a crime to kill or neglect such a child. I would argue, along with other pro-lifers, that the clandestine videos made by the Center for Medical Progress prove otherwise. As well, a report by The House Select Panel on Infant Lives, issued in January 2017, stated that there were still practitioners who ignore the law requiring care be provided infants who survive abortion, as well as those who manipulate the abortion procedure in order to preserve tissues because “many researchers want tissue from late-gestation infants ‘untainted by feticidal agents.'” These manipulations of the abortion procedure, some pro-lifers argue, increase the possibility of an infant surviving an abortion. I would also argue that a law with no penalties has no teeth, and a law with no teeth is a law that is likely to be ignored.
I really have to wonder what it takes for someone to vote against penalties for doctors and nurses who directly kill or kill by neglect children who are literally lying in front of them, living and breathing.
HR 4712 passed by a vote of 241-183. All 183 “Nay” votes were cast by Democrats. The bill now moves on to the Senate.
The second vote, in the Senate on January 29, was on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would outlaw abortions after 20 weeks gestation, with exceptions for abortions performed in cases of rape or incest, or to save the life of the mother. The bill, which required a majority vote of sixty Senators, failed by a vote of 51-49.
The basis for the Act, Senate Republicans insisted, is that we now know that the fetus at 20 weeks can feel pain. Banning abortions after 20 weeks seemed a reasonable measure, given that most Americans believe abortion should be limited to the first trimester (first 12 weeks), 21 states already have laws banning abortions after 20 weeks, and the nervous system of the fetus is developed enough that the fetus would feel the pain caused by an abortion.
Even still, this was too much for most Senate Democrats. Only three Democrats, Bob Casey (PA), Joe Donnelly (IN), and Joe Manchin (WV) voted in favor of the bill. Fourteen Senate Democrats who identify as Catholic voted against banning abortions after 20 weeks. Those Senators are:
- Maria Cantwell (D-WA)
- Susan Collins (R-ME)
- Dick Durbin (D-IL)
- Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
- Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND)
- Tim Kaine (D-VA)
- Patrick Leahy (D-VT)
- Ed Markey (D-MA)
- Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV)
- Claire McCaskill (D-MO)
- Bob Menendez (D-NJ)
- Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
- Patty Murray (D-WA)
- Jack Reed (D-RI)
Given that the Act won the support of fifty-one Senators and would have passed with the votes of sixty, it’s not too much to say that abortions after 20 weeks, even up to the moment of birth, remain legal in the United States because of the votes of these fourteen Catholic Senators.
There are only seven countries that allow abortion after 20 weeks. Those countries are: the United States, China, North Korea, Canada, the Netherlands, Singapore, and Vietnam.
So, to wrap up, Democrats in the House of Representatives voted against criminal penalties for healthcare workers who either directly kill or kill by neglect infants who survive abortion. Democrats in the Senate, not to be outdone by their colleagues in the House, voted against banning abortions after 20 weeks, thus keeping the federal policy that abortion is legal throughout the pregnancy, even up to the moment of birth.
Democrats are increasingly becoming extremists on the issue of abortion, leaving little reason for faithful Catholics to remain among their number.
Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.