It is no longer up for nuanced debate. Leading Democrats in Washington and Colorado support leaving children to die slowly of neglect.
The list of Colorado politicians on record opposing life-saving health care for infants includes Senate candidate and former Gov. John Hickenlooper, U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, and all Democratic members of the Legislature’s House State, Veterans, & Military Affairs committee. They include Reps. Chris Kennedy, Stephen Humphrey, Emily Sirota, Sonya Jaquez Lewis, Susan Lontine, Monica Duran and Steven Woodrow.
This is not a dispute about late-term abortion or some other gray area of the reproductive rights debate. It is a callous stand in favor of leaving fully birthed infants, alive outside the womb, to suffer and die. It is the type of radical partisanship that sends chills down the spines of moderate, rational people who merely want good governance.
Two committee hearings, one in Washington and another in Denver, grappled Tuesday with the rights of newborns. Should the law ensure life-saving care for babies when they are born in medical facilities? In a civilized society, the answer should be a swift and simple “yes.” Never, until recently, has this country disputed humane treatment of infants.
Newborns cannot survive without adult assistance. Left alone in a medical facility, they eventually die of suffocation, heart failure, starvation, or any number of other conditions. Adults who neglect infants at home are typically arrested on felony charges.
“We must look at ourselves and decide what kind of a society we are. This is not an abortion bill, this is a murder bill,” said state Rep. Shane Sandridge, R-Colorado Springs, the lead sponsor of the “Born Alive Child Physician Relationship” bill.
As reported in Colorado Politics, committee chair Chris Kennedy, D-Lakewood, said no one wants to see a child killed or neglected. But …
“I do believe the effect of this bill to create a new felony for this kind of action would have the effect of limiting access to abortion in this state,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy doesn’t mince words. He opposes the killing or neglect of newborns, but it’s the price of avoiding potential disincentive to providing abortions.
In Washington, U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., argued with Democrats on Tuesday for federal legislation to guarantee basic life-saving care for newborns.
It is a fact some children are born to mothers before a physician can complete a scheduled abortion. It happens frequently enough that abortion survivors have a nationwide support network. Some survivors live with visible saline burns or other disabilities caused by botched abortions. Others were simply born without incident in time to escape an abortion.
Sasse began his battle for infant health care after Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam expressed his support for extending abortion rights through labor and delivery. A pediatrician best known for repeatedly wearing blackface, Northam explained during a radio interview what would happen if a baby were born before an abortion.
“If a mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen,” Northam said. “The infant would be delivered. The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother.”
Hickenlooper created a similarly creepy moment when Denver attorney and radio host Dan Caplis asked him about leaving an infant to die in a medical facility. Hickenlooper refused to express support for care, then walked away from the interview.
Bennet voted against a born-alive bill in 2019. It is hard to reckon how a grown, educated, privileged and powerful man could reject an opportunity to offer every possible protection to powerless babies.
Democrats used to understand the value of reasonable limits to reproductive rights. Former President Bill Clinton said abortion should be “legal, safe and rare.”
By stark contrast, today’s Democratic leaders applaud extending reproductive rights through labor, delivery and beyond. Going beyond involves infanticide by willful neglect.
History has shown us the danger of unchecked political extremism. It foments chilling policies that quickly harm the meekest among us — in this case, vulnerable newborns left to die.