By Calvin Freiburger
Republicans in the House of Representatives filed a discharge petition Wednesday in hopes of forcing a floor vote on legislation that would guarantee life-sustaining medical care to babies delivered alive after failed abortions.
Federal law already protects such newborns on paper, but the the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act would give that protection teeth by specifically requiring abortionists to transfer infants who survive abortions to hospitals, where they would be given the same degree of care as any wanted newborn.
Democrats in both the House and the Senate have blocked or voted against the legislation dozens of times over the past several years. In January, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise announced that Republicans would begin working on forcing a vote via the use of discharge petitions, under which a bill will receive a floor vote regardless of House leadership’s wishes if it can secure the signatures of 218 House members.
This week’s discharge petition was filed by Rep. Kat Cammack, R-Florida, with support from Scalise and Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Missouri. “Today’s discharge petition symbolizes our commitment to protecting the sanctity of life for all Americans, including the most vulnerable among us,” Cammack said. “For too long, Speaker (Nancy) Pelosi and House Democrats have demonstrated their disregard for this most basic right and it’s time we show the American people where their representatives stand on this critical issue. I’m proud to stand alongside Whip Scalise and Rep. Wagner in declaring the value of life once and for all.”
According to Heritage Action’s tracker, which was last updated last June, the previous discharge petition had 205 signatures, including every House Republican and three Democrats. An additional 13 Democrats would need to be persuaded to come on board for the new one to succeed.
“There’s a word for intentionally ending the life of a baby that has left his or her mother’s womb: infanticide. Infanticide will never be morally acceptable or excusable, regardless of what one may think about abortion itself. Now the unthinkable has become reality — elected officials are supporting infanticide,” Family Research Council president Tony Perkins said in support of the petition. “President Biden’s sweeping offers of unity continue to fall flat as House Democrats stonewall even the smallest protections for babies born alive.”
Regardless of the petition’s prospects, the Born-Alive Protection Survivors Act would not make it through the Democrat-controlled Congress or be signed into law by President Joe Biden. However, a floor vote in the House would put Democrat representatives’ position on the issue on the record, highlighting the full extent of their extremism going into the 2022 midterm elections.