'Born Alive' Bill Fails in Senate

A bill designed to protect infants who survive abortions was not enacted by the end of the 106th Congress. In September, the House overwhelmingly passed The Born Alive Infants Protection Act (HR4292), 380-15. But the measure died in the Senate when Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) objected to a request by Majority Leader Trent Lott to pass the bill by unanimous consent. Under Senate rules, only one such objection derails a bill.

The bill would have established that an infant "who is born alive at any stage of development" is a person for purposes of federal law. Bill sponsor Rep. Charles T. Canaday (R-Fla.), who is retiring at the end of the session, introduced the bill to ensure that born babies received full legal protection. Some Democrats and prochoice Republicans have argued that the bill's true intent is to undermine abortion rights. Bill proponents say they hope the measure can be revived.

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