Senate to Vote on Two Pro-Life Bills

POLITICS & POLICY
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks to reporters after the weekly policy lunch in Washington, D.C., May 14, 2019. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) has announced that the Senate will consider two pieces of pro-life legislation later this month. One is the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, which received a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this week. The born-alive bill requires doctors to provide medical care to any infant who survives an attempted abortion procedure.

The second bill that will receive a floor vote is the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would prohibit abortion after 20 weeks’ gestation based on scientific research suggesting that fetuses are capable of feeling pain by that point in pregnancy. Last month, a new report suggested that fetal pain is in fact possible even earlier in pregnancy than 20 weeks.

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After a few weeks of debate last February, the born-alive bill was blocked by 44 Democratic senators. The last time the Senate considered the 20-week ban, meanwhile, was in January 2018, when it was blocked by Democrats in a 51–46 vote.

When news broke this afternoon that the Senate would consider both bills after the upcoming recess, one Politico reporter said on Twitter that McConnell had scheduled “two abortion votes.” This mirrors the inaccurate coverage that the born-alive bill received during the Senate debate last year. While its opponents tend to refer to it as “anti-abortion” legislation, the born-alive bill doesn’t regulate or limit abortion in any way; it merely requires doctors to give “the same degree” of care to abortion survivors that “any other child born alive at the same gestational age” would receive if delivered at that stage of pregnancy.

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