by Patrina Mosley , Connor Semelsberger
March 22, 2019
The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act is a bill sponsored by Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) and Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Mo.) that requires lifesaving medical care be given to babies born alive after failed abortion attempts. This legislation has garnered national attention in the wake of a radical abortion agenda that is sweeping across states like New York, Virginia, Vermont, and Illinois. After a recent vote on the born-alive bill in the U.S. Senate that failed to pass, many Senators and Representatives are continuing to make the debate about abortion policy in general instead of focusing on the specific language of the bill, which is to protect innocent lives moments after birth. There has been much debate and false information on what this bill will do and the general nature of infants born alive after an abortion attempt. Here are the facts:
Aren’t late-term abortions only performed when the baby has a fetal abnormality?
- No. Very few late-term abortions are performed on babies who have fatal birth defects. A study conducted in 2013 by the Guttmacher Institute suggests that most women seeking later term abortions are not doing so for reasons of fetal anomalies or life endangerment. The women in this study offered the same reasons for obtaining an abortion as those who seek abortion earlier in pregnancy.
Do babies actually survive failed abortions?
- Yes. In fact, the CDC reports that from 2003-2014 at least 143 infants died after being born alive during an abortion procedure, and the report admits that this is almost certainly an underestimate. There are no federal abortion reporting requirements, which leaves a massive gap in state reporting.
- Only six states require reporting on children who were born alive during abortion procedures, and as of 2017, only Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, and Oklahoma have reported this information. In 2013 Florida passed a born-alive protection act that stipulated reporting requirements. In 2017 alone, Florida reported that 11 babies were born alive during abortion procedures.
Here are two personal accounts of abortion survivors:
- Gianna Jessen had been in the womb for seven months before her mother went to a Planned Parenthood to have a late-term saline abortion. (Saline abortions rarely if ever happen anymore in the United States for abortions up to 24 weeks gestation. This technique has been replaced with an equally gruesome one that dismembers a child limb from limb, known as a Dilation & Excavation, or “D&E.”) Saline abortions use a saline solution to poison the baby, which burns him or her inside and out, even burning off the outer layer of their skin. The child suffers in these conditions for over an hour until their demise, and the mother must deliver her dead child the next day. But Gianna survived. She was diagnosed with cerebral palsy due to oxygen deprivation in the abortion attempt, but today she only walks with a small limp!
- Melissa Ohden’s biological mother had a saline abortion. But Melissa survived. After being born alive, it was found that she was seven months old. Today Melissa is a pro-life advocate with a master’s degree in social work and is the founder of the Abortion Survivors Network (ASN).
Aren’t there already laws in place against infanticide?
- Currently, there is no federal criminal statute against taking the lives of born-alive infants; criminal charges are applied at the state level. In 2002, Congress did pass the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, but this law was only a definitional change stating that all infants who survive an abortion are full persons under the law. There has not been a single prosecution brought against an abortion doctor since this law was passed even though the CDC admits that this happened at least 143 times.
- Twenty-nine states currently have some form of born-alive protections. However, New York state recently repealed their born-alive protections with the passage of the Reproductive Health Act, making it one of 21 states with no born-alive protections. That is why a federal law adding enforcement tools to prosecute doctors who deny life-saving medical care to infants who survive abortion is necessary.
Shouldn’t the decision to keep a child be between a woman and her doctor?
- This bill does not prescribe specific medical procedures that doctors must perform. In fact, the language specifically reads: “Any health care practitioner present at the time the child is born alive shall exercise the same degree of professional skill, care, and diligence to preserve the life and health of the child as a reasonably diligent and conscientious health care practitioner would render to any other child born alive at the same gestational age.”
- The bill also requires that the child be rushed to the nearest hospital. Many contend that moving a child to a hospital might not be the best medical practice, but it is important that the born-alive infant be moved to a hospital because not all abortion clinics have the necessary equipment or trained staff to provide necessary care. Also, it would not be in the child’s best interest to have the abortion doctor, who moments before was trying to kill the child, provide life-saving care.
Given the atrocities against born-alive infants committed by Dr. Kermit Gosnell that were revealed in his 2013 trial, it is essential that we enforce and strengthen the principle that born-alive infants are American citizens entitled to the full protection of our laws. We must never forget what happened in one of America’s most horrific homicide cases, and we must never allow it to happen again:
- “One employee testified in the trial that she witnessed Gosnell snip the necks of more than 30 babies.”
- “A 28-week-old baby boy was found frozen in a gallon water bottle.”
- “One of the babies was reportedly moving and breathing for 20 minutes before an employee cut the spinal cord.”
- “Gosnell severed the spine of one breathing, moving, born-alive baby and put the body in a plastic shoebox for disposal.”
- “When authorities searched Gosnell’s office, they found bags and bottles holding aborted fetuses scattered throughout the building.”
- Many other horrific details were brought as evidence before a grand jury. You can find a comprehensive list in this Washington Examiner article of all the horrible offensives committed by Gosnell on helpless infants.
Having protections for abortion surviving infants is the issue at hand—not abortion rights or women’s rights. This is about offering medical care to a child who has now become the patient. We must decide as a country where we stand on this issue: to either pursue humane protections for those must vulnerable in our society or continue to subject innocent human life to the whims of abortionists like Kermit Gosnell.