(WASHINGTON) — Among their first priorities while serving in the House majority, Republicans voted Wednesday on two measures related to abortion — a key issue for the party after the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade last summer.
One of the bills, a resolution, would condemn violence against facilities, groups and churches opposed to abortions. The bill passed 222 to 209, with three Democrats voting yes: Reps. Vicente Gonzalez of Texas, Chrissy Houlahan of Pennsylvania and Marie Perez of Washington.
The other bill would mandate health care providers give care to an infant that is born alive after a failed abortion. The measure passed 220 to 210 with one Democrat, Rep. Henry Cueller of Texas, joining Republicans in supporting the bill.
But Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Wednesday that they are “doomed in the Senate” and are “extreme.”
The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act — which was introduced by Republican Rep. Ann Wagner of Missouri — would require health practitioners to care for a fetus carried to term after a failed abortion. The bill would also impose criminal penalties on health care providers who don’t, of five years’ imprisonment.
“It pains me that this fight has to be fought at all, but medical care for babies should not be a partisan issue,” Wagner said in a statement. “Now, with Republicans in the Majority, the House will finally take action and vote to protect the fundamental right to life.”
An incomplete abortion where the fetus is carried to term is exceedingly rare. One report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention found that over a 12-year period, there were 143 cases where an infant was born alive after a failed abortion and then subsequently died.
Only a small percent of abortions are performed at a point in pregnancy where the fetus could theoretically survive. In 2020, 0.9% of abortions were performed after 21 weeks gestation, according to the CDC.
In his statement on Wednesday, Schumer said, “American women deserve to have their right to healthcare protected, not undermined. Just months after a historically disappointing midterm election, the MAGA Republican controlled House is putting on full display their truly extreme views on women’s health with legislation that does not have the support of the American people. Once again, Republicans are proving how dangerously out of touch they are with mainstream America.”
House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., said Republicans are “committed to defending life and doing everything in our power to keep babies who survive an abortion alive.”
But some in the party, including Rep. Nancy Mace of South Carolina, have been more critical of the push for legislation to restrict abortion access, voicing concern that it could alienate voters.
Abortion rights proved to be a key midterm issue, according to exit polling, which also showed a majority of voters saying abortion should be legal in all or most cases.
“This is probably not the way to start off the week. We should be looking at measures for example making sure every woman has access to birth control,” Mace said on MSNBC ahead of Wednesday’s votes on the legislation.
Mace is anti-abortion, she said, but “I have many exceptions.” She voted with Republicans to pass both bills.
ABC News’ Alexandra Hutzler, Allison Pecorin and Nicole Wetsman contributed to this report.
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