Senate to Vote on 2 Pro-Life Laws: Born Alive and Pain-Capable Bills

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell filed cloture on Thursday on the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection bill (S. 311), as well as a bill “to protect pain-capable unborn children” (S. 3275).

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Senate will soon vote on two key pieces of pro-life legislation to protect infants surviving abortions and unborn children after they can feel pain.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. filed cloture on Thursday on the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection bill (S. 311), as well as a bill “to protect pain-capable unborn children” (S. 3275). “Pain-capable” bills establish protections for babies from around the time they have been medically shown to feel pain, around 20 weeks gestation.

Majority Leader McConnell’s procedural action brings up a Senate floor vote on whether or not to consider the two bills. As a 60-vote majority is needed to consider the legislation, the bills are not expected to pass.

The pro-life Susan B. Anthony List thanked Majority Leader McConnell in a tweet on Thursday. Regarding the consideration of the “Born-Alive” bill, the group stated, “I mean come on, are we really still debating this, Senate Dems?”

Sen. Lindsey Graham’s, R-S.C. introduced the “pain-capable” bill on Tuesday, a year after he authored a 20-week abortion ban, the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act” (S. 160).

"I don't believe abortion five months into the pregnancy makes us a better nation. America's at her best when she's standing up for the least among us,” Sen. Graham stated during an April, 2019 hearing on his pain-capable bill.

Sen. Ben Sasse’s, R-Neb. Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act requires babies who survive abortion attempts to be given the same standard of care that other infants receive who are born alive at the same age, and to be immediately admitted to a hospital.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reported that from 2003-2014, 143 infant deaths in the U.S. occured after children were born alive following botched abortions, and “it is possible” that the number was higher. In Florida alone in 2017, 11 babies were reportedly born live during abortions. 

Sen. Sasse told CNA on Monday that, although he is pro-life, his bill is not about limiting abortion.

“This is about babies that survive botched abortions, and whether or not they deserve the same level of care that other babies get at the same gestational stage. And the answer for all humans should obviously be ‘yes,’ if people aren’t just obsessed with politics,” he told CNA.

In 2015 and again in 2017, the House passed a pain-capable bill but the measure failed in the Senate. In 2015, the Senate failed to proceed with the House bill, six votes short of the necessary 60 votes.

The Senate in 2018 failed to proceed with Graham’s pain-capable bill, by a vote of 51-46. Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., Joe Donnelly, D-Ind. and Bob Casey, D-Pa. voted yes, while Doug Jones, D-Ala. voted no, along with Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska and Susan Collins, R-Maine.