House Dems Defeat Born Alive Amendment

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi / Getty Images
February 28, 2020

House Democrats followed their Senate counterparts on Friday and voted down legislation that would guarantee medical care for infants who survive abortions.

Democratic representatives Collin Peterson (Minn.), Ben McAdams (Utah), and Dan Lipinski (Ill.) crossed the aisle to vote in favor of the amendment, which failed by a vote of 220 to 187. Twenty-two representatives did not vote.

Rep. Ann Wagner (R., Mo.) called on her fellow lawmakers to take action to protect newborn infants.

"Congress has an opportunity to ensure that no baby is denied life-saving care simply because he or she is allegedly unwanted," Wagner said in remarks on the House floor. "We can and we must act."

President Trump has repeatedly attacked Democrats as the "party of late-term abortion" on the campaign trail and plans to make abortion a major issue in 2020. Wagner ripped Democratic House leadership for repeatedly declining to put the legislation to a vote, saying "Our constituents must know where we stand."

Wagner added that a majority of Democratic voters support the Born Alive Act, but their representatives "ignore their voices." A 2019 poll found that nearly 80 percent of voters, including a majority of self-described abortion supporters, backed measures to provide life-saving care to newborns.

Wagner and Rep. Greg Walden (R., Ore.) introduced the act through a motion to recommit. They attempted to add it as an amendment to a bill regulating the sale of tobacco.

"It breaks my heart to find that we must defend life-saving care for newborn babies," Wagner said during her remarks.

On Tuesday, Senate Democrats defeated Sen. Ben Sasse's (R., Neb.) Born Alive Act. Sasse ripped Democrats for trying to "defend the indefensible." Presidential hopefuls Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D., Minn.), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) all skipped the vote after voting against the Born Alive Act in 2019.