Policy

‘That Was a No-Brainer’: New GOP Congressmen Back Born Alive Act

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On their first day in Congress, the two newest GOP representatives signed a petition to force a vote on a "no-brainer" piece of legislation designed to protect infants who survive abortion.

Democratic lawmakers voted down the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act in February, blocking legislation that would mandate medical care for infants who survive abortions. House Republicans are now driving a discharge petition to force House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) to bring the bill to another floor vote. Rep. Mike Garcia (R., Calif.), who won a May 12 special election to replace disgraced ex-Democratic representative Katie Hill, told the Washington Free Beacon that even having to sign the discharge petition is "frankly offensive" given the content of the bill.

"That was a no-brainer for me. I am pro-life through all stages, so the fact that we even have to sign this initiative is frankly offensive to me," he said. "For a baby to survive out of the womb, alive, and be subsequently murdered, is a complete travesty."

"I know there's a lot of signatures on this, and obviously I would support any initiative to bring this in front of Congress immediately," he added.

Rep. Tom Tiffany (R., Wisc.), who also won a blowout May 12 special election, echoed Garcia's support for pro-life legislation during the pair's introductory press conference.

"I'm proud, as one of my first acts, to sign that petition because I've always been proudly pro-life," Tiffany said. "When I served in the legislature, we voted to end late-term abortions. I've always been proudly pro-life and I will continue to be."

Both Garcia and Tiffany were sworn in by Pelosi on Tuesday.

The addition of two "yes" votes is unlikely to change the outcome of the vote, given that a previous vote on the bill failed by a margin of 220 to 187. But it could help the Born Alive Act gaining legislative momentum in both houses of Congress. The legislation has picked up bipartisan support since Sen. Ben Sasse (R., Neb.) first introduced it in 2019. The Senate bill has the support of a majority of senators, though it has still failed to clear the 60-vote threshold to pass. When Sasse reintroduced the bill in February 2020, support jumped to 56 members with Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R., Alaska), who had previously voted against the bill, and three Senate Democrats supporting the legislation.

With Garcia and Tiffany's support, the House discharge petition has 205 signatures, 13 short of the 218 necessary to force a floor vote.

Polling shows that nearly 80 percent of Americans, including a majority of respondents who identify as pro-choice, support mandating the same care for children who survive failed abortions as babies who are born prematurely.

"There's nothing in the bill that's about abortion. Nothing. It's about infanticide. That's the actual legislation," Sasse said during debate over his bill on the Senate floor.

Care for abortion survivors became a major issue in 2019 when Virginia governor Ralph Northam (D.) told a radio station that a proposed abortion law could allow an abortion to take place after an infant's birth.