Washington - The Catholic bishops’ pro-life chair is applauding the passage of the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act in the U.S. House of Representatives.
“We commend the House of Representatives for passing legislation to protect innocent children from infanticide and urge the Senate to follow suit,” Bishop Michael Burbidge of Arlington, Virginia, said in a statement Wednesday. “Babies who are born alive during the process of an abortion deserve compassionate care and medical attention — just the same as any other newborn baby.”
Members voted 220 to 210 on Wednesday to pass the act, also known as H.R. 26. All 210 who voted against it were Democrats. Only one Democrat voted “yes” to the bill: Rep. Henry Cuellar of Texas. Another Democrat, Rep. Vicente Gonzalez of Texas, voted “present.”
The act requires medical care for babies who survive attempted abortions. It promises “to prohibit a health care practitioner from failing to exercise the proper degree of care in the case of a child who survives an abortion or attempted abortion.”
Under the bill, health providers who fail to comply with the requirements for care could face fines or up to five years in prison. The bill would not impose penalties on the mother and would grant the mother protection from any kind of prosecution.
The act now goes to the Democrat-controlled Senate, where it is unlikely to advance.
Ahead of the House vote, Burbidge, the chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee for Pro-Life Activities, sent a letter to members of the House urging support for the bill. The act has the support of the U.S. Catholic bishops.
The Born-Alive Infants Protection Act of 2002, a law passed with bipartisan support, established that a “person,” “human being,” “child,” and “individual” includes infants born alive.
The House also voted on Wednesday to pass a separate measure condemning “recent attacks on pro-life facilities, groups and churches.”