Democrats block abortion bill in Senate 

Senate Democrats blocked legislation on Monday meant to respond to a political firestorm sparked in Virginia over "late-term abortion."

Senators voted 53-44 on the legislation from Sen. Ben SasseBenjamin (Ben) Eric SasseTrump circuit court nominee in jeopardy amid GOP opposition Trump has officially appointed one in four circuit court judges Senators press NSA official over shuttered phone surveillance program MORE (R-Neb.), which needed 60 votes to advance.

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Democratic Sens. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinFormer coal exec Don Blankenship launches third-party presidential bid Centrist Democrats seize on state election wins to rail against Warren's agenda Overnight Energy: Senate eyes nixing 'forever chemicals' fix from defense bill | Former Obama EPA chief named CEO of green group | Senate reviews Interior, FERC nominees criticized on ethics MORE (W.Va.), Doug Jones (Ala.) and Bob CaseyRobert (Bob) Patrick CaseyNew ObamaCare enrollment period faces Trump headwinds Scrap House defense authorization provision benefitting Russia Here are the Senate Democrats backing a Trump impeachment inquiry over Ukraine call MORE Jr. (Pa.) voted to proceed to the bill. The legislation would penalize doctors who fail to "exercise the proper degree of care in the case of a child who survives an abortion or attempted abortion."

Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellLawmakers skeptical of progress on spending deal as wall battle looms Impeachment battle looms over must-pass defense bill 'Saturday Night Live' presents Trump impeachment hearings with 'pizzazz' of soap opera MORE (R-Ky.) touted the bill ahead of Monday night’s vote, where it was widely expected to fall short, urging Democrats to reject “extreme voices” within their own party.

“It isn’t about new restrictions on abortion. It isn’t about changing the options available to women. It’s just about recognizing that a newborn baby is a newborn baby. Period,” he said.

Democrats blocked a previous attempt to pass the legislation and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerOvernight Health Care: Trump officials making changes to drug pricing proposal | House panel advances flavored e-cig ban | Senators press FDA tobacco chief on vaping ban Chad Wolf becomes acting DHS secretary Schumer blocks drug pricing measure during Senate fight, seeking larger action MORE (D-N.Y.) argued on Monday that it's part of a pattern from Republicans, whom he accused of misrepresenting the bill.

“This vote does not occur in a vacuum. ... Pay attention to the facts and not false rhetoric. This bill is Washington politics at its worst,” he added.

Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineOvernight Health Care: Trump officials making changes to drug pricing proposal | House panel advances flavored e-cig ban | Senators press FDA tobacco chief on vaping ban Senators press FDA tobacco chief on status of vaping ban Progressive freshmen jump into leadership PAC fundraising MORE (D-Va.), who is Catholic, released a statement after the vote saying he opposed the bill because GOP statements about it are "misleading." 

"Congress reaffirmed that fact with its passage of the bipartisan Born-Alive Infants Protection Act in 2002. I support that law, which is still in effect. There is no need for additional federal legislation on this topic," Kaine said. 

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump reversed course on flavored e-cigarette ban over fear of job losses: report Trump to award National Medal of Arts to actor Jon Voight Sondland notified Trump officials of investigation push ahead of Ukraine call: report MORE sharply condemned the vote in a pair of Monday evening tweets:

Monday's vote comes after Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) provoked outrage among anti-abortion groups, GOP lawmakers and the White House over his comments about a bill that would have made it easier for women to get third-trimester abortions if their health was threatened by pregnancy.

Kathy Tran, the sponsor of the Virginia bill, fueled the political firestorm when her comments acknowledging that the legislation would allow a woman who is dilating to request an abortion if a doctor determined that childbirth would impair her mental or physical health went viral.

Northam further inflamed tensions when he said on a local radio show that third-trimester abortions are rare and typically occur when an infant is severely deformed or unable to survive after birth.

"In this particular example, if a mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen: 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," Northam said.

A spokeswoman for Northam told The Washington Post that his comments were being taken out of context by Republicans. 

—Updated at 8:54 p.m.