Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is readying the Senate to vote on two powerful pro-life bills: South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham’s Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy unless it resulted from rape, incest, or the mother’s life were endangered, and Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse’s Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, which “in the case of an abortion or attempted abortion that results in a child born alive,” would ensure that a health care provider present must act to preserve the life of the child.
Graham, the Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman, introduced his bill supported by Judiciary Committee members Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Thom Tillis (R-NC), John Kennedy (R-LA), Mike Crapo (R-ID), John Cornyn (R-TX), Ben Sasse (R-NE), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Mike Lee (R-UT).
The Judiciary Committee described the bill thus:
The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act would make it illegal for any person to perform, or attempt to perform, an abortion without first making a determination of the probable post-fertilization age of the unborn child. If the post-fertilization age of the unborn child is determined to be 20 weeks or greater, an abortion shall not be performed, unless –
- It is necessary to save the life of the pregnant woman;
- The pregnancy is a result of rape and the woman has received medical treatment or counseling at least 48 hours prior to the abortion; or if she chooses to do so, has made a report to law enforcement; or
- The pregnancy is a result of rape or incest against a minor and the abuse is reported to either social services or law enforcement.
The Committee added, “In the case of the exceptions – the abortion may only proceed in a manner that provides the best opportunity for the unborn child to survive unless that would pose a greater risk of death or serious bodily injury to the pregnant woman; and the abortion provider must receive informed consent from the pregnant woman, certifying that she has been provided the child’s gestational age, a description of the law, and her rights under the law.”
Both bill would require a 60 vote super-majority in the Senate if they hope to break a filibuster; there are 53 GOP senators, but last year three Democrats supported Sasse’s legislation. Sasse has said of the bill, “Picture a baby that’s already been born, that is outside the womb, gasping for air, that’s the only thing that today’s vote is actually about. We’re talking about babies who’ve already been born. Nothing in this bill touches abortion access.”
On Tuesday, Sasses stated, “This hearing is about making sure that every newborn baby has a fighting chance — whether she’s born in a labor and delivery ward or whether she’s born in an abortion clinic.”
On Thursday, Senator John Thune(R-S.D.) slammed Democrats over the issue, saying, “Unfortunately abortion extremism has grown to such an extent in the Democrat Party that leading Democrats — including a Democrat presidential candidate — have not only ruled out banning late-term abortions, they’ve actually refused to rule out infanticide.”