COMMENTARY

Bill to protect abortion survivors should not be partisan issue

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Caring for innocent children and their mothers is a moral imperative. To put these principles into action, I announced, as Senate Majority Leader, that we would vote on the “Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act,” offered by Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) in the coming days.

His bill, on which I’m proud to be an original cosponsor with nearly forty of my colleagues, would direct any physician present when a baby survives an abortion to provide medical assistance the same way they would for any other child who is born alive at that stage. In short, it requires that doctors treat these babies with the attention and care they deserve.


To most of us, that idea seems simple. A recent poll showed more than three-quarters of Americans supported medical treatment for abortion survivors. The legislation isn’t just good policy, it’s consistent with our national values.


Earlier this month, Sen. Sasse tried to seek an agreement to expedite the passage of the legislation, moving it closer to becoming law without extended debate. As a firm believer in the sanctity of life, I supported the effort to move it through the Senate quickly.


Most Kentuckians agree that defending a child’s life—regardless of whether or not they are born—shouldn’t be a partisan issue. We should be able to work together across the aisle to ensure the most vulnerable receive care.


Unfortunately, a Democratic Senator disagreed and blocked the passage of the bill.


The rejection of swift passage won’t stop our work to provide all babies with fundamental legal protections. That’s why the Senate will take a vote on Sen. Sasse’s bill to protect the babies who survive abortions. The American people deserve to know whether their Senators stand with vulnerable children struggling for life.


Across the country, the sanctity of life is under constant attack. In his annual State of the Union address, President Trump reaffirmed Republicans’ commitment to America’s moral character and the unborn. He drew a sharp contrast with a law recently passed in New York expanding access to late-term abortions and the comments of the Governor of Virginia, who seemed to endorse ending a child’s life even after his or her birth.


Last year, President Trump answered calls from my Senate Republican colleagues and me by taking steps to block federal family planning funds from organizations that make abortion referrals or use the same facilities as abortion clinics, such as Planned Parenthood. 


In the Senate, I’m committed to supporting life, and I’m proud of my 100% rating from the National Right to Life Committee. Under current law, the United States is one of just seven countries—including China and North Korea—to permit elective abortions after 20 weeks when the baby is able to feel pain. As Senate Majority Leader and a cosponsor of the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,” I ensured our legislation received a vote.


In addition, as hundreds of thousands of pro-life men and women participated in the March for Life, I scheduled a Senate vote to guarantee no taxpayer resources could fund abortions. Building upon existing law, it would explicitly provide that federal health-care facilities are not party to abortions and would increase transparency requirements when your tax dollars are involved. Sadly, Senate Democrats blocked both of these bills, making their opposition to protecting the unborn and defending the right of conscience abundantly clear.


When Sen. Sasse’s legislation to care for abortion survivors comes up for a vote, it’s my sincere hope that all of my Senate colleagues think seriously about their position and the precious children involved. I urge them to join me in sending a clear message that our country respects and values life.


Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, is the U.S. Senate Majority Leader. 


Kentucky Today’s Perspectives section provides a public forum for our readers to express their views on issues of importance. The opinions expressed are those of the writer and should not be construed as an official position taken by this newspaper. We encourage you to join in the conversation by sending your essays to editor@kentuckytoday.com. We reserve the right to reject submissions deemed inappropriate.
  

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