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Sen. Ben Sasse, R-NEYouTube screenshot

February 1, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Seizing on the national uproar over pro-infanticide comments by Virginia Democrats, Sen. Ben Sasse, R-NE, is calling on the U.S. Senate to pass legislation forcing abortionists to give newborns medical care if they survive attempted abortions.

Video went viral this week from a subcommittee hearing in which Democrat Del. Kathy Tran takes questions about her bill to repeal regulations on late-term abortions. Republican Del. Todd Gilbert asked how late in the third trimester a physician could perform an abortion and whether that includes when the mother “has physical signs that she is about to give birth.”

“I don't think we have a limit in the bill […] my bill would allow that, yes,” Tran answered. In a radio interview, Virginia’s Democrat Gov. Ralph Northam also discussed the bill, suggesting that a born-alive “infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired.” He later claimed he was only referring to cases such as a “nonviable pregnancy” or “severe fetal abnormalities.”

Tran’s bill has already been tabled in committee, but the controversy – and the mainstream media’s defensive coverage of it – has sparked a discussion of the extremes to which Democrats and their allies have settled on abortion.

The Born-Alive Infants Protection Act of 2002 already defines infants who survive abortions as “human beings,” “persons,” “individuals,” and “children” with all the rights those terms entail; the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act would specifically require abortionists to get such babies to hospitals and criminalize their deliberate killing after delivery.

Sasse, a Nebraska Republican best known as a critic of President Donald Trump, has reintroduced the latter bill in the current session of Congress, delivering a floor speech Thursday calling on his colleagues to support it.

“We're talking about killing a baby that's been born,” he said. “We're not talking about some euphemism, we're not talking about a clump of cells. We're talking about a little baby girl who’s been born and is on a table in a hospital or a medical facility and then a decision or a debate would be had about whether or not you could kill that little baby. We're talking about the most vulnerable among us and we have a public official in America out there again and again defending a practice. This is infanticide that we're talking about. This should be so far beyond any political consideration. We're talking about a little baby. A baby with dignity. An image bearer.”

“Everyone in the Senate ought to be able to say unequivocally that killing that little baby is wrong. This doesn't take any political courage. And, if you can't say that, if there's a member of this body that can't say that, there may be lots of work you can do in the world but you shouldn't be here,” Sasse argued. “There should be no politics here that are right vs. left, or Republican vs. Democrat. This is the most basic thing you could be talking about.”

The senator announced he was calling for the bill to be considered under unanimous consent next week (under which the bill passes if no senator objects and individual senators’ positions are not recorded), as well as for it to be fast-tracked to a future roll-call vote. Sasse also used unanimous consent to pass a symbolic resolution defending the Knights of Columbus last month.

The bill is unlikely to pass the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives. Democrats unanimously backed the 2002 bill, but by 2015 the party moved left enough that only five House Democrats supported the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, and then-President Barack Obama claimed it would have a “chilling effect” on “access to care.” It also remains to be seen whether Republicans will make an issue of how Democrats respond to the bill beyond the current news cycle and into the 2020 elections.