GOP Senators Susan Collins and Mark Kirk opposed protecting pain-capable unborn|Source
WASHINGTON - Tuesday, babies at least 20 weeks along in development within the womb were denied protection from pain suffered during abortion, after the Republican majority failed to gather the needed 60 votes to close debate on H.R. 36 - the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.
Illinois' U.S. Senator Mark Kirk and Maine's Susan Collins were the only two Republicans that voted against the bill, along with GOP Senator Barbara Murkowski, who did not vote. Republicans gathered 53 votes, along with three Democrats' help, to reach 54 votes, leaving the measure short six to advance.
Kirk, who has time and time again reaffirmed that he opposes any restrictions on abortion, faces re-election in 2016.
The legislation, H.R. 36, would have "prohibited an abortion from being performed if the probable post-fertilization age of the unborn child is 20 weeks or greater, except: (1) where necessary to save the life of a pregnant woman whose life is endangered by a physical disorder, illness, or injury, excluding psychological or emotional conditions; (2) where the pregnancy is the result of rape against an adult woman and, at least 48 hours prior to the abortion, such woman has obtained counseling for the rape or medical treatment for the rape or an injury related to the rape; or (3) where the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest against a minor and the rape or incest has been reported prior to the abortion to a law enforcement agency or a government agency legally authorized to act on reports of child abuse. Requires the physician, prior to performing such an abortion, to place appropriate documentation in the patient's medical file of the receipt of such medical treatment or counseling or of the reporting of such rape or incest."
The bill would permit "a physician to terminate a pregnancy under such an exception only in the manner that provides the best opportunity for the unborn child to survive. Requires a physician performing an abortion under an exception provided by this Act, if (in reasonable medical judgement) the pain-capable unborn child has the potential to survive outside the womb, to ensure that a second physician trained in neonatal resuscitation is present and prepared to provide care to the child. Makes such requirements and the requirement to obtain an informed consent form inapplicable if compliance, in reasonable medical judgment, would pose a greater risk of: (1) the death of the pregnant woman; or (2) the substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function, excluding psychological or emotional conditions, of the pregnant woman."
And required, when a physician performs or attempts an abortion in accordance with this Act and the child is born alive, that:
- any health care practitioner present at the time humanely exercise the same professional skill, care, and diligence to preserve the life and health of the child as would be exercised for a child born alive at the same gestational age in the course of a natural birth;
- the child born alive be immediately transported and admitted to a hospital; and
- a health care practitioner or any employee of a hospital, a physician's office, or an abortion clinic who has knowledge of a failure to comply with these requirements immediately report the failure to an appropriate state or federal law enforcement agency.
It also required the physician who intends to perform an abortion under one of this Act's exceptions to first obtain a signed informed consent authorization form, which shall be presented in person by the physician and which shall consist of:
- a statement by the physician indicating the probable post-fertilization age of the pain-capable unborn child;
- a statement that federal law allows an abortion after 20 weeks fetal age only if the mother's life is endangered by a physical disorder, illness, or injury when the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest against a minor;
- a statement that the abortion must be performed by the method most likely to allow the child to be born alive unless this would cause significant risk to the mother;
- a statement that in any case in which an abortion procedure results in a child born alive, federal law requires that child to be given every form of medical assistance that is provided to children spontaneously born prematurely, including transportation and admittance to a hospital;
- a statement that these requirements are binding upon the physician and all other medical personnel who are subject to criminal and civil penalties and that a woman on whom an abortion has been performed may take civil action if these requirements are not followed; and
- affirmation that each signer has filled out the informed consent form to the best of their knowledge and understands the information contained in the form.
Without the needed 60 votes, the Pain-Capable Born Alive Infant Protection Act will remain in the U.S. Senate.