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Rep. Elise Stefanik, the House GOP conference chair, said Republicans are united around the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act that requires health care workers to provide hospitalization to babies that survive abortions and sets up criminal penalties for violators.
“The House Republicans’ position that unifies all of our members — that all of our members are a co-sponsor of — is the Born Alive Act that provides protections for babies born alive at 15 weeks,” Stefanik told Fox News Digital. “We are a pro-life conference. We are a pro-life Republican Party. That is what we want to move on Day One.”
The abortion issue is in heightened focus after a draft Supreme Court opinion was leaked and signaled a majority of the justices were prepared to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that legalized the right to an abortion nationwide. If Roe is overturned, abortion regulation would be left up to each state — unless Congress intervenes and passes a national law.
Democrats have sought to pass legislation to guarantee a right to an abortion nationwide, but the effort failed in the Senate this week with all Republicans and one Democrat — Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia — voting against advancing the Women’s Health Protection Act. Democrats argue the legislation is needed immediately because Republicans are set on rolling back abortion access.
Asked by Fox News Digital if the Republican agenda would include banning abortion on the federal level, Stefanik said the one piece of legislation that has widespread support is the Born Alive bill, which would be a priority.
The Born Alive legislation was introduced by Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Mo., and has the support of 203 Republicans in Congress.
Under the legislation, a health care provider could face up to 5 years in prison for failing to provide care to a baby who survived an abortion. A person who kills or attempts to kill a child born alive would be prosecuted for murder. Health care practitioners or others who have knowledge of a failure to comply with care requirements have to report incidents to law enforcement — or face criminal prosecution.
“Killing a baby that was born alive is infanticide, there’s no other way to put it,” the office of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said in a statement last month backing the legislation and chiding Democrats for wanting abortions “to be performed up until birth.”
Meanwhile, House Democrats rallied outside the Capitol Friday calling for nationwide legislation to cement Roe into law. They condemned conservatives for wanting to roll back women’s rights that have been in place for nearly 50 years.
“Already, Republicans across the nation are mobilizing around a dangerous and extreme agenda to criminalize all forms of reproductive health care, including IVF, contraception and post-miscarriage care. Think of that,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Friday.
She chided Senate Republicans for voting against the Women’s Health Protection Act and said the GOP wants “a nationwide ban on abortion.”
“Once Republicans shred longstanding precedent and privacy rights, they intend to wage an all-out assault on more of our rights, including access to contraception and marriage equality,” Pelosi said.
“As Republicans seek to control and criminalize women’s reproductive health freedoms, Democrats are fighting to enshrine Roe v. Wade into law.”