The first book I read in my middle school English class was “The Giver” by Lois Lowry. I can still picture my 6th grade classroom and my teacher, sitting on her desk, patiently answering our disbelieving questions. We found “The Giver” disturbing and a little creepy. Our teacher wrote the definition for “euphemism” on the board, and explained why, in the novel, the word “release” was used instead of “kill” for the elderly and young.
On Monday, Sen. Ben Sasse, R‑Neb., took the Senate floor and implored his fellow senators to vote unanimously for a bill that rightly labeled infanticide as wrong. H.R. 4712, or “The Born Alive Infant Protection Act,” would have made it illegal to withhold care for a baby that has been born alive, heart beating and lungs breathing, during an abortion procedure. When Sen. Patty Murray, D‑Wash., stood up to halt voting on the bill, I wanted to dig out my 6th grade English notebook and explain to her what a bunch of 6th graders could understand: Killing a baby, no matter what you call it, is wrong.
The BAIPA came at the tail-end of shocking comments from the Democratic governor of Virginia, who had a few days prior, defended a bill up for debate in the state legislature. Gov. Ralph Northam had no problem explaining on live radio how the bill allowed for a baby, if born during an abortion, to be “kept comfortable” and resuscitated only if “that’s what the mother and the family desired.” Even then, a “discussion would ensue” as to whether the baby would be allowed to continue to live — even after birth. The comments sparked outrage across the nation, spurring the introduction of H.R. 4712 by Sasse, now co-sponsored by 42 other Republican senators.
The country has become embroiled in a fierce debate over abortion. Yet, the Born Alive Infant Protection Act has absolutely nothing to do with restricting abortion. It does not place limits on anything regarding when, how, or why an abortion may occur. The only thing it requires is for a baby born alive after an abortion to be given the same medical care as any other infant in our country.
This bill did nothing to infringe upon a women’s so-called right to end the life of her unborn baby. It only infringed upon the right of a woman and doctor to end the life of her born baby, something that our country generally protects. Murray claimed that infanticide is already illegal, and said Sasse’s bill is a “gross misinterpretation” and a “solution in search of a problem.” But Sasse’s bill is neither redundant nor unnecessary. Only 26 states currently require medical care for infants born alive during botched abortions, and as of 2016, only six states required physicians to report such instances at all.
Babies born alive and left to die after an abortion have been oddly excluded from such a basic protection as the right to life. It is hardly legal for a mother to wake up and suddenly decide her 4th grader is a nuisance worthy of a legal injection, so why are babies in an abortion room suddenly so different?
But perhaps the ardent opposition to Sasse’s bill neither unreasonable nor outlandish. After all, if we are required to save an unwanted baby born alive, what’s going to stop us from being required to save an unwanted baby in the womb? The Born Alive Infant Protection Act is only an attack on abortion rights if you accept that abortion is no different from leaving a baby to die on the operating table.
But for now, our pro-abortion senators have declared that a mother’s right to choose life or death for her baby extends past her pregnancy. Instead of correcting their dismal logic and facing the fact that abortion takes a human life, they have decided to march on, mowing down any limit on so-called abortion “rights.” They are hoping to outrun the morality and logic that will inevitably chase them down.
From here, it looks like opponents of Sasse’s bill are marching towards a future with no limits on when a child can be killed. If you don’t know what that looks like, I suggest picking up a copy of “The Giver.”