Why Are Lawmakers Blocking a Bill to Protect Babies Who Survive Abortions?

By Natalie Allen

Two weeks ago, several members of the House of Representatives filed a discharge petition to force a vote on the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. The bill would require that children born alive during abortions receive the same medical care as any other newborn.

If you haven’t heard of a discharge petition, I wouldn’t be surprised. It’s a technical procedure used by members of Congress to require a vote on a piece of legislation that is being stalled or blocked by the majority party. By getting a simple majority of the members to sign their name to the discharge petition, the bill is automatically placed on the chamber’s calendar for a vote.

You might wonder: Why would anyone try to block such commonsense legislation?

Unfortunately, Speaker Nancy Pelosi has so far refused to allow the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act to move forward, so supporters of the bill are left with no other choice but to use a technical procedure to attempt to ensure this vital legislation isn’t ignored.

Sadly, this isn’t a new story. In 2019, supporters of the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act also turned to the discharge petition in an attempt to get a vote on the bill. Similarly, there were few alternatives. In the last session of Congress alone, Speaker Nancy Pelosi directed her caucus to block the legislation more than 75 times.

Protecting vulnerable children after birth should not be a controversial issue. This bill wouldn’t create any new restrictions on abortion. It would only require that babies born alive during an attempted abortion be given the same medical care as any other baby born at the same gestational age.

Again—why would the Speaker and her party block this legislation?

It’s simple, really. Admitting that a baby that survives an abortion should receive legal protections indicates the baby was alive and worthy of protection in the womb as well. It would be an admission that Congressional Democrats believe that only babies who are “wanted” deserve legal rights and medical care—regardless of whether they are born or unborn.

In other words, the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act pokes a devastating hole in arguments supporting abortion. And demanding a vote on it forces abortion supporters to reveal the truth about what they are willing to do: refuse to protect vulnerable babies.

We are grateful to the Members of Congress who are taking a stand to protect life (not to mention common sense) by sponsoring and advocating for the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act.

Natalie Allen worked as a lobbyist at the Family Foundation of Virginia and a grassroots associate at Heritage Action for America before joining the Alliance Defending Freedom team.