February 08, 2019
Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) has had a few days to think about her decision to become the new face of the Democrats' infanticide agenda. At the time, she didn't have much to say -- because what can you say when your party wants to normalize killing a baby on its birth day? Now, a half-week into the backlash, she's settled on this rationale. Taking an innocent life, she concluded, is a personal decision. A slogan that ought to play exceedingly well in 2020.
The choice to leave a perfectly healthy baby in a room of medical waste to die, she told a reporter, is up to "a woman and her doctor." And "Congress [and] politicians should not get in between..." That argument might work for some when the mother is a handful of weeks along. But a newborn, outside the womb, who could fill the arms of millions of loving couples? All ethical issues aside (and there are plenty), the purpose of government -- the Constitution tells us -- is to "promote the general welfare." Part of Congress's job is passing laws that protect people from harm. If hurting a child is a "personal decision," then why isn't spousal abuse? Or drunk driving? Or anything that endangers the lives of others?
In a civilized society, there should brightly colored moral lines that neither party will cross. When Democrats did, it put every American on notice that there is no bridge too far, no policy too extreme. As Senator Ben Sasse (R-Nebr.) said earlier this week, who would have thought that any leader -- let alone the House speaker -- would block legislation that makes it illegal to leave a newborn baby to die? "This is morally repugnant. Passing the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act shouldn't be hard -- there are only two sides to this debate: you're defending babies or you're defending infanticide."
It should be, Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Mo.) argued, the "simplest vote you will ever take." And yet, Democrats didn't take it. In the face of overwhelming backlash, a party in full-blown damage control dug in even deeper -- refusing not just Thursday, but today, to even bring the bill to the floor. For so many Americans, the footage of Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) asking to move the Born-Alive bill by unanimous consent was a powerful indication that the Left has no intention of listening to their constituents -- or what's left of their conscience.
"The request cannot be entertained," the chair, Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) said once, then again. Scalise asked for an exception. Denied. "The gentleman was not recognized for the unanimous consent," Cuellar bellowed, despite supporting this same legislation last session. With dozens of his caucus's pro-life women standing behind him, Scalise looked at the dais and said, "If this unanimous consent cannot be entertained, I would urge the speaker and the majority leader to schedule the Born-Alive bill immediately," he fired back, "so that we can stand up and protect the sanctity of human life." The room erupted into cheers from conservatives, who got on their feet in a raucous ovation.
Every day, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) warned, Republicans will demand a vote on this bill -- no matter how many liberals stand in their way. "If the Democrats object," he said, "we'll ask again, and again, and again, because it is just right. It's not a partisan issue -- it's about saving lives." And the longer it takes, the steeper the price for Democrats. Already, Rasmussen polling warns, they're in a political no-man's-land with this radical agenda. Only 21 percent of Americans agree with them that abortion should even be legal in the last three months of pregnancy. Imagine how low that number would be if they'd asked about the Democrats' other agenda: infanticide.
The Democrats are desperate for people to believe that this is a "fake issue." It isn't. The CDC put the number of reported babies who'd been born alive during an abortion (and left to die) at 143 between 2002-14. Even they warned that the estimate was almost certainly low. After all, former FRCer Arina Grossu pointed out, "They don't reflect the facilities that didn't choose to report information about babies born alive at their center after an attempted abortion. Kermit Gosnell is only one abortionist who was responsible for 'hundreds of snippings' of born-alive babies, yet he did not report them to the CDC. His numbers alone exceed the "definitive" numbers of the CDC collected data... How many other abortionists and facilities currently fail to report babies born alive in their facilities and get away with infanticide without any criminal penalties?"
It's not a redundant issue. And it's not an unnecessary one. This is a pivotal and devastating turning point for a party that thought it had a shot at beating Donald Trump in 2020. For the first time in history, American presidential candidates will have to defend a kind of violence that even their own base cannot stomach. "It is an albatross around Democrats' neck," CNBC pointed out. One that strongly suggests, an Obama strategist mourned, they "never learned the lesson of 2016."
For more information on how common late-term abortion law is in this country, check out FRC's new state-by-state map. Also, don't miss a great interview from yesterday's "Washington Watch" with the sponsor of the House Born-Alive Survivors Protection Act, Rep. Wagner.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.