Anti-abortion activists protest external of the U.S. Can be fried Court throughout the March because that Life in Washington, D.C., top top Jan. 18, 2019. (AP)


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On Feb. 25, the Senate took up a bill backed through anti-abortion advocates called the "Born-Alive Abortion Survivors defense Act."

Under the bill, "any infant born lively after one abortion or within a hospital, clinic, or other facility has actually the same claim to the security of the regulation that would arise for any newborn, or for any person who concerns a hospital, clinic, or other facility because that screening and also treatment or otherwise i do not care a patient in ~ its care."

The invoice goes on to say that anyone (except the mother) that "intentionally performs or attempts to carry out an overt act the kills a boy born alive" deserve to be prosecuted for "intentionally death or attempting to kill a human being being."

The invoice failed top top a procedural motion, through 53 votes in favor once 60 were essential to development it. The only senators that crossed party lines to be Democrats that voted in donate of the measure: Bob Casey that Pennsylvania, Doug Jones the Alabama, and also Joe Manchin that West Virginia.

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Later that day, president Donald trump registered his disappointed in a pair of attached tweets:

"Senate Democrats just voted against legislation to avoid the death of newborn child children. The Democrat place on abortion is now so excessive that they don’t mind executing babies after ~ birth. This will be remembered as one of the most shocking votes in the history of Congress. If over there is one thing we must all agree on, that protecting the lives of chaste babies."


Senate Democrats just voted against legislation to avoid the death of newborn infant children. The Democrat position on abortion is now so too much that they don’t mind executing babies ~ birth....

— Donald J. Trump card (
realDonaldTrump) February 26, 2019

Those are strong words. We wondered: Is the true the the democrats vote versus the bill mean that they "don’t mental executing babies after birth"?

After interviewing a selection of professionals on both sides of the abortion-policy divide, us concluded that while Democrats have left themselves open up to this line of attack, Trump’s insurance claim is inaccurate. (The White house did not respond to an inquiry.)


Why did democracy vote versus it?

Broadly, critics of the bill said that it would certainly take decisions the end of the hands of parents and also medical professionals and hand it come politicians. Democrats also argued that the number of relevant instances is vanishingly small, and also usually show off heartbreaking instances that regularly have specific, unusual factors at play that are tough to accommodate in advance. Because of this, they witnessed the bill as a possibility for republic to awkward Democrats fairly than as a genuine item of legislation aiming to settle a far-reaching problem.

Perhaps the Democrats’ most basic argument in the context of Trump’s charge, however, is the laws already exist come cover the script the bill would seek to prevent, making the new bill redundant.

In a floor speech before the vote, Senate decimal Leader chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said, "It has always been illegal to damage a child infant. This vote has actually nothing—nothing—to do with that. Review the language."

Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, the ranking Democrat ~ above the Health, Education, Labor and also Pensions Committee, echoed the argument. "This invoice is not around protecting infants, together Republicans have claimed, since that is not up for debate and also it is currently the law," she said.


What is the law currently?

Most legal experts we contacted agreed through this much of the Democrats’ argument: killing a baby after birth is already versus the law.

"Actively death an infant born alive is a crime," stated Lois Shepherd, a professor of law and also biomedical ethics at the university of Virginia and author the the books Rationing Health care at the finish of Life and also If That ever before Happens to Me: make Life and Death decisions After Terri Schiavo. "Under the law, living infants are just like other living people. They are children. Youngsters are people."

Legal experts pointed to several details laws pertinent to newborns:

• The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, first passed in 1974 and also subsequently revised, including significant updates in the 1980s. The relevant portion of the legislation makes certain types of federal resources for says conditional on their fostering of policies to protect against improper withholding of treatment from newborns, including those v disabilities.

• The Born-Alive infants Protection plot of 2002 developed that federal legal protections that applied to "persons" also covered youngsters born at any type of stage that development, consisting of after one abortion. The regulation did not directly create civil or criminal penalties, but -- something the 2019 bill would have added. Filling the omission to be a key motivator for supporters of the bill.

The 2002 legislation is "toothless and purely symbolic," stated Dwight Duncan, a university of Massachusetts law professor who serves top top the the plank of the Pro-Life legal Defense Fund and Massachusetts Citizens for Life.

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State laws. State, quite than federal, laws "are the primary resource of protection against active or negligent killing of babies born during the procedure of abortion," stated Teresa S. Collett, a law professor in ~ the college of St. Thomas and director that the university’s Prolife Center. In 2002, Collett said, Congress identified 30 states that had actually some statutory security for infants surviving an attempted abortion.