Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Born-alive bill

Robert P. George

Some good people are legitimately wondering why we need the new born-alive survivors of abortion act that the Democrats just killed, when there is already a law on the books that was enacted in 2002. Is the push for new legislation just political theatre?
The answer to that question is no. We do need the new act. I can tell you about the 2002 act from my own personal experience in advocating for the legislation.
The idea of a born-alive act was originally proposed by the great Hadley Arkes, a professor at Amherst College and a pro-life hero. He was and is a super dear friend of mine. He asked for my help in promoting the idea to potentially sympathetic members of Congress. Together, we testified in the House of Representatives in support of the legislation when, after years of effort, it was finally introduced.
To our chagrin, the Republican leadership, in the hope of attracting Democratic votes, removed from Hadley's bill the penalties for failing to care for the child who survived an abortion. The final version of the bill also failed to specify adequately the required standards of care. The bill passed (with Democratic votes) but it was toothless--merely symbolic, really.
In the years since, Hadley and I have pressed and lobbied for a meaningful born-alive bill. Many of the Republicans we've talked to have declined to do anything, on the ground that the Democrats--in their pro-abortion zealotry and their fealty to, and financial dependence on, Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and the like--would kill any truly meaningful legal protections for children marked for abortion who somehow managed to be born alive. Our mantra in response was: "Make them vote! Let them show their true colors."
Finally, the Republicans--no doubt emboldened by developments in New York, Virginia, and elsewhere that have revealed to the public the Democrats' abortion extremism--are willing to move. Ben Sasse, whom Hadley had long pressed for action (becoming quite frustrated, by the way), stepped forward to lead. Even Susan Collins got aboard--infanticide being a bridge too far even for her. The vote in the Senate finally came, and the Democrats are now on the record.

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