A major pro-life Democratic organization is encouraging support for a Democratic House member’s bill that would protect babies who survive abortion, even as some are criticizing the legislation.
U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) last week introduced a bill, H.R.8923, to “ensure a health care practitioner exercises the proper degree of care in the case of a child who survives an abortion or attempted abortion.” The full text of the bill has not been posted.
Democrats for Life is urging fellow Democrats to support the bill by signing a petition.
“There are at least 300 documented instances of babies surviving abortion: a low estimate, given reporting is not mandatory,” the Democrats for Life petition reads. “Often, these babies are left by an abortionist to die, rather than being provided the necessary oxygen, fluids, and surgery they may need to survive. We need strong laws to be able to prosecute abortionists who violate their duty of care. Contrary to what Planned Parenthood thinks, protecting born children should be the very least we can agree on.
The petition says “extreme pro-abortion advocates such as Governor Ralph Northam and Governor Andrew Cuomo would rather deny protections to survivors of abortion.”
“It is critical to give federal protection to fully developed, born babies who survive an abortion attempt,” the petition says.
But the bill has its critics.
Author Jill Filipovic, in a tweet, called it a “redundant bill” that “claims to protect infants in the infinitesimally rare cases they are born after attempted abortions (infants are already legally protected) but in fact just criminalizes doctors, vilifies women, and fear-mongers about abortion.”
Tulsi Gabbard also introduced a redundant bill that claims to protect infants in the infinitesimally rare cases they are born after attempted abortions (infants are already legally protected) but in fact just criminalizes doctors, vilifies women, and fear-mongers about abortion.— Jill Filipovic (@JillFilipovic) December 11, 2020
Filipovic said infanticide is “already illegal” and that the bill “levels criminal penalties on doctors -- helping to pave the way for criminalizing abortion generally. It's dangerous, misogynist, and wholly unnecessary, and yet she's choosing to do it.”
Imani Gandy, an editor at Rewrite, tweeted to Gabbard, “You seem to be under the impression that born alive is a thing. It is not. Shame on you.”
Hi, @TulsiGabbard. You seem to be under the impression that ✌🏾born alive✌🏾 is a thing.— 🎅🏿Imani Gandy Cane, Esq.🎅🏿 (@AngryBlackLady) December 11, 2020
It is not. Shame on you. I don’t know what your problem is but you’re turning out to be a real right wing shit heel. https://t.co/iLyGnfkdKh
Evangelist Franklin Graham defended Gabbard.
“Democratic Congresswoman @TulsiGabbard is getting attacked by the left for being bold enough to do the right thing,” Graham tweeted. “She introduced a bill to protect babies who survive abortions & are born alive. How could any sane person be against that?”
Democratic Congresswoman @TulsiGabbard is getting attacked by the left for being bold enough to do the right thing. She introduced a bill to protect babies who survive abortions & are born alive. How could any sane person be against that? https://t.co/OqsT66QKQr— Franklin Graham (@Franklin_Graham) December 12, 2020
Congress passed and President George W. Bush signed in 2002 the Born-alive Infants Protection Act, although the text of the bill did not require penalties for doctors who broke the law. In fact, the word “abortion” was not mentioned in it. The 2002 bill used vague language to make it passable by unanimous consent. For these reasons, pro-lifers have said another bill is necessary.
Gabbard ran for president and retired from Congress, and is serving her finals days in the lame-duck session.
It wasn’t the only pro-life bill Gabbard introduced. She also introduced H.R. 8939, which would “protect pain-capable unborn children.” The full text of it has not been published.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Ethan Miller/Staff
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.