Washington D.C., Jan 11, 2023 / 05:00 am (CNA).
The new Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives is considering several issues in the new year. Abortion, they say, is one of them.
Republicans this week plan to focus on at least two abortion-related pieces of legislation: a “born-alive” bill to protect babies who survive attempted abortions, and a resolution condemning the growing number of attacks on pro-life organizations, including churches and pregnancy centers.
With a newly sworn-in Congress, Republicans are engaging in a renewed effort to pass pro-life legislation — even if pro-life policy is likely to stall in the Democrat-controlled Senate.
The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act
Republicans are hoping to advance several pro-life measures, beginning with the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Act, according to the floor schedule released by Majority Leader Rep. Steve Scalise, a Republican from Louisiana.
This piece of legislation, also known as H.R. 26, 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.”
“Every single member of Congress should be able to agree that newborn babies deserve protection regardless of the circumstances under which they are born,” reads a press release from the majority leader’s office.
The act has the support of the U.S. Catholic bishops.
The legislation would add to the legal protections of the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act of 2002, a bipartisan law that established that a “person,” “human being,” “child, and “individual” includes infants born alive.
Attacks on pro-life facilities, groups, and churches
Submitted by Republican Conference Vice Chair Mike Johnson of Louisiana, H. Con. Res. 3 states that Congress condemns the growing number of attacks targeting pro-life pregnancy centers and churches following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
The resolution establishes that Congress “condemns recent attacks of vandalism, violence, and destruction against pro-life facilities, groups, and churches.” It also calls on the Biden administration to “use all appropriate law enforcement authorities to uphold public safety and to protect the rights” of these facilities, groups and churches.
Federal funding of abortion
In a Dec. 30 letter outlining the House schedule for the first two weeks of the new Congress, Scalise included taking up the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act. Among other things, the act would prohibit federal funding from going toward abortion or health benefits plans that cover abortion.
The pro-life response
House Republicans have the support of national pro-life groups, such as Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, as they advance pro-life legislation.
“The new GOP House majority is kicking off the Congress with bills to rein in the radical abortion lobby,” President Marjorie Dannenfelser said in a Dec. 31 statement. “We look forward to working with Rep. Scalise, GOP leadership, and all our pro-life House allies throughout the Congress to advance an ambitious, life-saving agenda.”
At the beginning of January, Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America joined dozens of other pro-life organizations in signing a letter to Republican members of Congress.
“Members cannot squander the opportunity to advance policies that protect innocent life in the first Congress to convene in post-Roe America,” they wrote.