The legislation would have all but ban abortions after 20 weeks and mandate care for babies of failed abortions–a measure that’s widely criticized as unnecessary by abortion rights advocates. The debate turned heated, with Republicans repeatedly accusing Democrats of favoring killing babies.
The New York Times: Democrats Block Abortion-Related Bills As Republicans Seek Election Advantage
Senate Democrats on Tuesday blocked action on legislation that would ban almost all abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy and impose criminal penalties on doctors who fail to aggressively treat babies born after abortions, casting a pair of votes that Republicans hope to use to their advantage in the 2020 elections. The two measures, which both fell short of the 60 votes necessary to advance, were doomed from the start, having already failed in the Senate. (Stolberg, 2/25)
The Associated Press: Dems Thwart Senate Republicans On 2 Abortion-Related Bills
The measures have been defeated multiple times in recent years, but Senate Republicans pushed for renewed votes to allow GOP lawmakers to make an election-year appeal to conservative voters. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell accused Democrats of bowing to “the radical demands of the far left” to “drown out common sense” and the views of millions of Americans. “It almost defies belief that an entire political party could find cause to object to this basic protection for babies,’’ the Kentucky Republican said. (Daly, 2/25)
Roll Call: Senate Rejects Effort To Advance Anti-Abortion Bills
The vote comes at a busy time for abortion policy. Prior to the Presidents Day recess, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on protections for infants that survive an attempted abortion, while the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee held a hearing on expanding abortion rights. The House also passed a joint resolution that would extend the deadline for a gender equity constitutional amendment despite fierce opposition from anti-abortion groups who worry it would limit state abortion restrictions. (Raman, 2/25)
In other news —
Texas Tribune: ACLU Sues Seven Texas Towns For Passing Local Anti-Abortion Ordinances
The American Civil Liberties Union is suing seven Texas towns in federal court over recent anti-abortion ordinances declaring the towns “sanctuary cities for the unborn.” The controversial ordinances began popping up in small towns in East Texas last year and gradually spread across the state. Eleven towns, extending as far west as Big Spring, had passed a version of the ordinance. It aims to outlaw abortion at the local level if the U.S. Supreme Court makes it possible to do so, and it grants family members of women who have abortions the ability to sue the provider for emotional distress. (Walters, 2/25)
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