The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act: I Object to My Own Request

Feb 01, 2019

Post by Glenn Bertsch, Generation Joshua Program Administrator 

“Mr. President, I now ask for a second reading and in order to place the bill on the calendar under the provisions of rule XIV, I object to my own request.”

Why Would a Senator Object to His Own Motion?

Pro-Life Senator and homeschool dad Ben Sasse, like many of us, was shocked by statements by Virginia Governor that defended his comments that describe what might be called "post-birth abortion" or more bluntly: infanticide. So like many of us, Senator Sasse, was angry. But as a Senator he decided to use his public office do something about it. He decided to use some special Senate rules and propose the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. But why, then, would he object to his own motion? 

The Senate Rules are Complicated 

It’s not common to see a Senator object to his or her own unanimous consent request.  Usually if a Senator is asking for unanimous consent, the goal is for no Senator to object so that action can be taken quickly without needing a formal vote. However, due to a provision in Rule XIV, a Senator may object to his or her own request to fast track a bill and bypass the committee process. If you’ve been in the Senate at GenJ’s iGovern camp, you are very familiar with this process (although it’s under Rule XII in the iGovern Rules).

I could go into a lot more detail regarding the Rule XIV procedure, but that’s not the main point of this post. However, if you are interested in more information, check out the Congressional Research Service’s report “Bypassing Senate Committees: Rule XIV and Unanimous Consent.”

This procedure is what Sen. Ben Sasse used on Thursday night to fast track his Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. Sen. Sasse introduced the bill on Thursday night and then objected to his request for a second reading. In his floor speech, Sasse announced his intention to ask unanimous consent to bring the bill to the floor and pass it on Monday night.

Sasse had already introduced a version of this bill that was referred to Committee, but after the comments of Virginia Governor Ralph Northam defending infanticide, Sasse introduced a new version and used Rule XIV to bypass committees.

This Video Shows Sen. Sasse Introducing His Motion 

How You Can Support This Bill 

That’s where you come in. Just because the bill bypassed committee and was put on the calendar doesn’t mean it will actually get considered on the Senate floor. We need you to call both your Senators and tell them to support Sasse’s bill, S. 311.

As Senator Sasse said, “Everyone in the Senate ought to be able to say unequivocally that killing that little baby is wrong. This doesn’t take any political courage, and if you can’t say that, if there is a Member in this body who can’t say that, there may be lots of work you can do in the world, but you shouldn’t be here. You should get the heck out of any calling in public life where you pretend to care about the most vulnerable among us. There should be no politics here that are right versus left or Republican versus Democrat. This is the most basic thing you could be talking about. We are talking about a little baby born alive, and we have a public official in America defending the idea: Well, you could have a debate about killing her.”

You can get your Senators’ contact information here, or just call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask for your Senator.

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