Gabbard earns pro-life praise for bills to shield babies feeling pain, protect abortion survivors

'I'm really proud of Tulsi for being so brave and bringing this legislation to the forefront,' said Alison Centofante, director of external affairs for Live Action

Updated: December 20, 2020 - 11:04pm

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, a Hawaii Democrat, is earning praise from conservatives for again bucking her party this month by introducing two separate pieces of pro-life legislation, one that would ban abortions for infants-in-utero who are capable of feeling pain and the other to protect born-alive infant survivors of abortions. 

Separately, Gabbard also this month bucked her party in a move favored by some conservatives when she introduced a bill aimed at preventing males from competing against women in sports receiving federal funding. 

Under the Late Term Abortion Ban Act, this “pain capable” bill, would ban abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy--or about five months--unless the mother’s life is severely at risk.

“I'm really proud of Tulsi for being so brave and bringing this legislation to the forefront,” Alison Centofante, the director of external affairs for Live Action, a pro-life group, told Just the News AM television program on Thursday. “We know that babies can feel pain at that point in time, and that would protect any child after 20 weeks from the pain of abortion. So that's a really, really good thing.”

Gabbard’s “born alive” bill, H.R. 8923 would amend the U.S. criminal code "to ensure a health care practitioner exercises the proper degree of care in the case of a child who survives an abortion or attempted abortion." Gabbard’s legislation was similar to one backed by Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., and Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Mo., earlier this year, however, both Senate and House Democrats rejected the bill, which would penalize doctors who refused to provide lifesaving medical care to abortion survivors. 

Centofante cited a report from the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention that found within a period of 10 years from 2003 through 2014, at least 143 babies have died after being born alive following an induced abortion.

“One-hundred and forty-three human beings, so that's important,” Centofante said. “That’s the CDC data. I’m glad Tulsi’s looking at science, and she's not getting bought out by the abortion industry. These are good pieces of legislation that we should all join hands on, we're talking about born alive and 20 weeks five months.” 

Last year, Gabbard announced that she would not seek reelection to Congress, perhaps freeing her up to be more outspoken about ways she departs from her party’s orthodoxy. During Gabbard’s 2020 primary presidential campaign, the candidate often bucked party leadership, including through regular attacks on the 2016 Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton. 

Centofante said that Gabbard’s support for pro-life issues could hurt her fundraising among pro-abortion women’s groups, many of whom are significant fundraising sources for Democratic female candidates.

“You have to think here: follow the money,” Centofante said. “Anybody who watches the way things roll, they know it's the money. The money is at issue here, not only just the money for the abortion industry, but that goes back to candidates  All of these pro-abortion candidates are funded by Planned Parenthood Federation, NARAL, EMILY’s List, and they won't give that up … We’re here to back Tulsi and anybody who wants to protect pre-born children.”

Also on the abortion docket could be the Hyde Amendment, which bans the use of federal taxpayer dollars for abortion, except in cases of rape or when the mother’s life is in jeopardy. Each year, for more than 40 years, Congress has renewed the Hyde Amendment, However, Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee, led by the panel’s incoming chairman, Rep. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, now say that they want to repeal it.

Joe Biden during the 2020 campaign backtracked on his previous decades of support for the Hyde Amendment, and Rep. Ayanna Pressley, (D-Mass.), a member of the progressive “Squad” in the House of Representatives, said that the Hyde Amendment’s days are “numbered” during a recent hearing.

“It's been supported by both parties historically, and codified every time it needs to come up,” Centofante said of the Hyde Amendment. “Right now, though, the left is attacking the Hyde Amendment. Really, they want taxpayer funded abortion. Here's the reality of that, when taxpayer funds go towards abortion more abortions are committed.”

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