House Republicans said Tuesday they would file a discharge petition to force a vote on an anti-infanticide bill after Democratic leaders blocked the measure from being debated on the floor 25 times.
“Twenty-five times the Democratic leadership has said no,” said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy at a press conference. “Today that all changes.”
House Minority Whip Steve Scalise said he would file the discharge petition on H.R. 962, the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act sponsored by Rep. Ann Wagner, Missouri Republican, which requires medical care for newborns who survive abortion procedures.
Mr. Scalise said the petition “makes it clear to everybody across the country, you can’t say you’re pro-life unless you sign the discharge petition to bring this bill up for a debate and a vote on the House floor.”
Democrats have said that the bill is unnecessary, arguing that infanticide is already illegal, and that the measure should proceed through the regular committee process, while Republicans say recent late-term abortion bills in states like New York have raised the stakes.
“There are only 26 states that have protections for babies currently that are born alive,” said Ms. Wagner. “Many of those states sadly are rolling back their protections. That’s why this is needed. We need to make sure that we make this a criminal offense, that we give mothers civil remedies, and most of all, we give lifesaving care to babies that are born alive.”
The petition would need the signatures of a simple majority of 218 House members to move the floor for a debate, which means it would require nearly two dozen Democratic votes. There are currently 235 Democrats and 197 Republicans in the House, with three vacancies.
You deserve to know: Where does your representative stand on stopping infanticide? I’m filing a discharge petition TODAY to bypass Pelosi & force every member to go on record & tell the American people EXACTLY where they stand on this barbaric practice. #LetUsVote #EndInfanticide pic.twitter.com/n2Zr8TYEm6
— Steve Scalise (@SteveScalise) April 2, 2019
So far only three Democrats have supported H.R. 962, which gives criminal penalties for health-care personnel who fail to provide care. Mothers would not be subject to prosecution, but would be able to file civil lawsuits against providers.
House Republicans wore pink buttons at the press conference with the message, “Killing a baby is always wrong.”
“Today no longer can those who belong to Congress hide behind the Democratic leadership and say they did not have the opportunity to vote, because whoever was holding the gavel denied the opportunity for the bill to come up,” Mr. McCarthy said.
Pro-life leaders cheered the effort to bring the bill for a floor vote, citing polls showing overwhelming support for newborn abortion survivors.
“Shame on Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats for repeatedly refusing to allow a vote on this compassionate, common-ground bill,” said Susan B. Anthony List president Marjorie Dannenfelser, adding, “Their agenda is radically out of step even within their own rank and file.”
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