A lifesaving petition for babies

Associated Press/Photo by Alex Brandon
Associated Press/Photo by Alex Brandon
Politics | A majority of Americans support protecting abortion survivors, but it’s a hard sell in Congress

WASHINGTON—Republicans are trying to gather enough signatures to bypass House Democratic leadership and vote to protect babies born during attempted abortions.

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., introduced a discharge petition Tuesday for the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, a measure that would mandate that babies who survive attempted abortions receive medical care. Providers who failed to care for those babies would face criminal and civil penalties.

The petition needs 218 signatures to force the bill to the House floor. If all Republicans sign it, which appears likely, it would still need 21 Democratic signatures—a slim possibility in the Democratic-controlled House.

Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Mo., introduced the bill in February. Since then, House Republicans have called for unanimous consent to pass the bill for 25 consecutive legislative days. Democrats blocked the effort each time. A similar bill introduced by Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., suffered the same fate in the Senate in February.

Republicans hope they can win some bipartisan support from moderate Democrats from districts that President Donald Trump won in 2016. In an Fox News op-ed, Wagner and Scalise noted that “86 percent of Republicans, 70 percent of Democrats, and 75 percent of independents support this legislation.”

Three Democrats co-sponsored the bill. Of those, Reps. Dan Lipinski of…

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