The summary of the bill reads:
This bill amends the federal criminal code to require any health care practitioner who is present when a child is born alive following an abortion or attempted abortion to: (1) exercise the same degree of care as reasonably provided to any other child born alive at the same gestational age, and (2) ensure that such child is immediately admitted to a hospital. The term “born alive” means the complete expulsion or extraction from his or her mother, at any stage of development, who after such expulsion or extraction breathes or has a beating heart, pulsation of the umbilical cord, or definite movement of voluntary muscles, regardless of whether the umbilical cord has been cut.
Also, a health care practitioner or other employee who has knowledge of a failure to comply with these requirements must immediately report such failure to an appropriate law enforcement agency.
An individual who violates the provisions of this bill is subject to a criminal fine, up to five years in prison, or both.
An individual who commits an overt act that kills a child born alive is subject to criminal prosecution for murder.
The bill bars the criminal prosecution of a mother of a child born alive for conspiracy to violate these provisions, for being an accessory after the fact, or for concealment of felony.
A woman who undergoes an abortion or attempted abortion may file a civil action for damages against an individual who violates this bill.
Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), the bill’s sponsor spoke on Thursday night in support of her legislation.
The bill expands the current federal law passed in 2002 to include criminal penalties and protections for the mother. Blackburn said her motivation to pass this bill was sparked in part by the Kermit Gosnell trial. Gosnell was an abortionist in Philadelphia, PA convicted of first-degree murder charges for killing three infants born alive in his clinic and the involuntary manslaughter of Karnamaya Mongar who died as a result of her abortion at his hands. He was also convicted of 21 felony counts of illegal late-term abortion, and 211 counts of violating the 24-hour informed consent law.
The presiding judge sentenced Gosnell to life in prison without the possibility of parole after he waived his right to appeal in exchange for an agreement by the state prosecutors not to seek the death penalty.
All House Republicans voted in favor of the bill joined by only six Democrats: U.S. Representatives Matt Cartwright (D-PA), Henry Cuellar (D-TX), Jim Langevin (D-RI), Dan Lipinski (D-IL), Collin Petersen (D-MN), and Tim Walz (D-MN).
Iowa’s lone Democratic Congressman, Dave Loebsack, who represents Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District, voted against this bill.
“The 183 House Democrats who voted against the bill will need to try to explain why they voted against making it a crime to treat a born-alive human person as medical waste, as a source for organ harvesting, or as a creature who may be subjected to lethal violence with impunity,” Carol Tobias, President of National Right to Life, said in a released statement responding to the vote.
“Justice and compassion took a great leap forward today,” SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser commented. “We thank Leader McCarthy and our allies in the House for holding a timely vote on this crucial bill, as hundreds of thousands of pro-life Americans rally at Congress’ doorstep. We urge the Senate follow their colleagues’ lead and pass the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act as well as the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would end cruel late-term abortions after five months of pregnancy.”
SBA List’s National Campaign Chair Jill Stanek, who was present for the vote, responded, “Horrific crimes are taking place in abortion facilities around the country. Children born alive are denied medical care and left to die – cold, alone, abandoned and discarded like medical waste. This is infanticide, plain and simple. Everyone should be able to agree on equal protection under the law for these children.”