- Senators voted Tuesday on both the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act and the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act.
- As expected, Republicans failed to muster the needed 60 votes to pass each bill.
- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pushed the divisive bills to spur conservative enthusiasm by forcing Democrats to pick a side on issues like infanticide.
Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska voted with Democrats Tuesday against protecting unborn babies after 20 weeks.
Both Collins and Murkowski voted with Democrats against the Republican-backed Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, while Democratic Sens. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Doug Jones of Alabama voted with Republicans on the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act.
2020 Democratic presidential candidates Sens. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts did not vote on either bill.
As expected, Senate Republicans did not muster the needed 60 votes Tuesday to pass the pain-capable act, a bill banning abortion after 20 weeks and sponsored by Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham. Senate Republicans also did not muster the 60 needed votes to pass the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, a bill protecting babies born alive through botched abortions sponsored by Republican Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse.
It was understood ahead of the votes that both bills lacked necessary votes to progress, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pushed the divisive bills forward in order to spur conservative enthusiasm by forcing Democrats to pick a side on issues like infanticide. McConnell has said that the bills pose “moral questions” that Democrats must answer, The New York Times reported.
President Donald Trump has also harnessed outrage surrounding Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s infanticide comments to spur support for his 2020 presidential campaign.
Democrats have pushed back against both bills, accusing Republicans of fabricating an infanticide narrative. Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin suggested earlier in February and again Tuesday that infanticide is already illegal in the U.S. and pushed senators to instead focus on infant and mother mortality rates related to race.
Sasse accused Democrats Tuesday of purposefully obscuring conversation surrounding the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act by painting the bill as “anti-abortion” and told Durbin that while active infanticide is indeed illegal in the U.S., politicians like Northam have suggested that passive infanticide be legalized. (RELATED: Sasse Attacks Democrats For Filibustering Anti-Infanticide Bill ‘Because They Don’t Want To Defend The Indefensible’)
“What’s actually happening is the senator from Illinois is wanting to obscure the debate because he wants to use euphemisms about choice so that you don’t have to admit to the American public that what’s actually happening on the floor today is probably that like last year, 44 Democrats are gonna filibuster an anti-infanticide bill,” Sasse said Tuesday.
“There’s nothing in the bill that’s about abortion,” Sasse added. “Nothing! It’s about infanticide.”
“That’s the actual legislation, and you’ve got 44 people over there that want to hide from it and talk in euphemisms about abortion, because they don’t want to defend the indefensible,” he said.
Sasse also criticized CNN for a Tuesday report on both the pain-capable act and the born-alive act that described a baby who survived an abortion as a “fetus that was born.”
“News flash CNN, if you’re a baby, and you’ve been born, and you’re outside of mama, nobody calls that a fetus,” he said. “You just wanna call that a fetus because you don’t wanna cover the actual story that’s being voted on in the U.S. Senate today.”
Republican Georgia Sen. Kelly Loeffler also spoke out in a statement after casting a vote for both bills, noting that “the right to life should always win in America.”
“From our country’s beginning, the first right recognized by Americans is life,” Loeffler said. “We must defend those who cannot defend themselves and respect the inherent dignity and worth of every person.”
“It is heartbreaking that these common-sense policies have been defeated in the Senate again,” she added. “I applaud President Trump’s pro-life agenda, and I remain committed to defending life and upholding the fundamental values of faith and family.”
This post was updated with a statement from Sen. Loeffler.
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