During a hearing Tuesday, Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) expressed his disgust that the Senate was unable to pass the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act due to opposition from Democrats.
“It’s stunning to consider that one of our nation’s two major political parties, a party that itself once said that abortion should be safe, legal, and rare,” he emphasized, “now almost uniformly opposes even minimal protections for babies outside the womb, babies who, like Miss Ohden, have survived an attempted abortion.”
Sen. Lee was referring to Melissa Ohden, a survivor of an attempted saline infusion abortion according to her medical records, who testified at the hearing in favor of the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act that would ban abortion at 20 weeks – the point at which science suggests an unborn child can feel pain.
“My arrival into this world was not so much a birth, but an accident, a ‘live birth’ after a saline infusion abortion,” she said. “My medical records actually state, ‘a saline infusion for an abortion was done, but was unsuccessful.’”
“I can only imagine how much pain I was in when I was ‘laid aside’ that day, in the words of a nurse who I’ve now been connected with and who was brave enough to share those details of my life story with me,” she continued, “as arguments about my life and whether I would be provided medical care or simply left to die like my grandmother instructed nurses to do, ensued.”
“There should no longer be a question of when life begins,” Ohden concluded. “There should no longer be the question of which lives, if any, should be protected. There should be no question of whether there should be limits to abortion. We are one of the few nations who fail to do so, and the American public continues to report through polling that they support such limits.”
Despite Ohden’s compelling testimony and medical records, the abortion advocacy group NARAL accused Sen. Lee of bringing up legislation, “based on imaginary scenarios and extremist lies intended to inflame the public and interfere with private medical care.”
Sen. Lee is now talking about Sasse's so-called “born-alive” bill because of course he is. This bill is based on imaginary scenarios and extremist lies intended to inflame the public and interfere with private medical care. Newborns already have legal protections. #StopTheBans pic.twitter.com/57fw3Fod0X— NARAL (@NARAL) April 9, 2019
Ohden’s story is not unique. She testified that she knew “281 others just like me through my work as the founder of The Abortion Survivors Network.”
On Capitol Hill last week, abortion survivors Gianna Jessen and Claire Culwell stood alongside her at a conference to get a vote on the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act in the House.
While NARAL argues that “newborns already have legal protections,” the bill’s sponsor in the Senate, Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) pointed out that “currently, federal law does not adequately protect a born child who survives an abortion. On January 22, 2019, New York repealed protections (section 4164 of the state's public health law) for an infant born alive during an abortion.”
The Senate and House bills would also provide stronger protections for newborns than the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, which became law in 2002 and ensured full legal rights for infants “born alive at any stage of development.” That measure does not specify a requirement of basic medical care for infants or any criminal penalties for doctors who did not comply.
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