Klobuchar, Smith vote against protection for newborn babies who survive abortion
ST. PAUL — Minnesota's two U.S. senators, Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith, today voted against advancing legislation to protect newborn babies who survive abortion. With the opposition of Klobuchar, who is currently running for president, and Smith, a former executive at Planned Parenthood in Minnesota, the Senate's 53-44 vote total fell short of the 60 votes required to break a filibuster and proceed with consideration of the bill.
"The extremism and inhumanity of the position taken by Klobuchar and Smith can't be overstated," says Scott Fischbach, executive director of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL). "We're talking about infants who are alive and outside of their mother's body. They are vulnerable and helpless and in need of basic care and protection. Klobuchar and Smith voted to deny them that care."
The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act (S. 311), sponsored by Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), requires that a baby born alive in the context of abortion be afforded "the same degree" of care that would apply "to any other child born alive at the same gestational age," including transportation to a hospital. The bill applies the existing penalties of the federal murder statute to anyone who performs "an overt act that kills a child born alive." The bill also empowers women with a right to sue the abortion practitioner for harm caused by violations of the act.
Smith spoke against the measure in today’s debate on the Senate floor. While flagrantly mischaracterizing what the bill actually does, Smith said that preventing abortion practitioners from neglecting, abandoning, or killing newborn babies would “interfere in the doctor-patient relationship.”
"The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, which anyone can read for themselves online, has no effect whatsoever on abortion or access to abortion," notes Fischbach. "Nor does it infringe in any way on women's health care or the doctor-patient relationship. It just says that these already-born human beings should be treated like human beings. That's it. And that's what Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith have just come out against."
Although Minnesota has a statute (145.423) ensuring care for abortion survivors, many states do not, and New York recently repealed explicit protection for babies who survive abortion. Last month Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, speaking about the fate of abortion survivors under legislation he supported, said in an interview, "The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired. And then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother."
In Minnesota, three abortions resulted in a born-alive infant in 2017 (the latest year for which data is available), according to the Department of Health. In 2016, five abortions led to a live birth.
Polls show that Americans overwhelmingly support care and protection for newborn babies.