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 Sasse (R-Neb.), which needed 60 votes to advance.

{mosads}Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Doug Jones (Ala.) and Bob Casey 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 McConnell (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 Schumer (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 Kaine (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 Trump 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.

Tags Ben Sasse Bob Casey Charles Schumer Donald Trump Joe Manchin Mitch McConnell Tim Kaine

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