By Joachim Teigen
Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, chairman of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, released a statement after the Senate decision, saying: “Today, the United States Senate failed to advance two critical human rights reforms that most Americans strongly support.”
The heated debate over the two pro-life bills took place in the United States Senate on Tuesday, and was opened by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who said that “today, every Senator will be able to take a clear moral stand”.
Bills prevented from being voted on
The first bill in question was the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act”, which would have given legal protection to unborn children after 20 weeks, thus banning late-term abortions.
The second was the “Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act” aimed at strengthening the legal protection of children born alive after a failed attempt at abortion, children potentially subject to infanticide today.
Although the US Senate currently has a Republican majority, some bills can be prevented from going forward by tactically prolonging the debate, so that a 60-vote majority is required for the bill to actually be voted on.
The first bill fell short by 7 votes, and the second by 4 votes, and did not proceed to a vote.
Archbishop calls decision “appalling”
Currently, the US is one of only seven countries where elective abortion after 20 weeks is legal, the others being Canada, China, the Netherlands, North Korea, Singapore, and Vietnam.
20 weeks is generally regarded as the time after which an unborn child can feel pain and even survive outside the womb.
Speaking on the bill protecting children born alive after an attempted abortion, Archbishop Naumann said that it would “ensure that Roe v. Wade’s license to kill unborn children does not extend to killing the newborn babies who survive abortion.”
“It is appalling”, he said, “that even one senator, let alone more than 40, voted to continue the brutal dismemberment of nearly full-grown infants, and voted against protecting babies who survive abortion.”
The Archbishop ended his statement by saying: “Our nation is better than this, and the majority of Americans who support these bills must make their voices heard.”