Senator Hassan got back to me quickly in response to my emailed request that she support the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. It’s been a few days since she voted No, but I appreciate the attention. There’s only one problem: her reply is not about the bill. From her letter, omitting only the boilerplate thanks-for-your-message language:
Late term abortions in the United States are exceedingly rare and occur in the context of complex and difficult health care decisions. I believe patients — in these situations women — must be provided the freedom, privacy, and dignity to make these decisions in consultation with their health care providers and family, in accordance with their consciences, and free from government interference. If a proposed law does not meet this standard, I will be compelled to oppose it.
The Born-Alive bill is not about late-term abortion. The Senator’s reply is incoherent if she has read the bill, and embarrassing if she hasn’t.
The bill does not affect a woman’s right to seek abortion for any reason at any point in pregnancy. The bill is about abortion survivors. I’ll phrase that another way, since some people are skeptical that such survivors exist: the bill is about providing care for children who are born after an attempt has been made to terminate the pregnancy. Don’t believe me? Read the bill.
Would the Senator like to meet a survivor? I’m pretty sure Melissa Ohden would be happy to take her questions. Likewise for Gianna Jessen, who asked a Congressional committee in 2015, “if abortion is about women’s rights, then what were mine?” (No one could tell her.)
I am left wondering where Maggie Hassan stands on infanticide. She simply won’t say. These days, I can’t take for granted that protecting abortion survivors is an obvious imperative – not one option among many, but an imperative.