WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) released the following statement following the Senate vote on S. 311, which he called an orchestrated attack on women’s health.
“The Supreme Court made clear that women in this country have a constitutional right to autonomy over their health and well-being. It has always been illegal to kill or harm a newborn infant, and this bill had nothing to do with that. Instead, this bill would have subjected medical professionals to unprecedented criminal liability and inappropriately comes between a woman and her doctor.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that nearly 99 percent of abortions are performed before 21 weeks of pregnancy. In the rare case that a woman seeks an abortion after 20 weeks, it is typically because severe fetal anomalies are discovered late in pregnancy, or because the mother’s life is at risk. “Women in these scenarios face heartbreaking decisions about what is best for themselves and their child, and the government has no place intervening,” Cardin added.
“This bill would force physicians to provide invasive, ineffective, and inappropriate medical treatment to infants born with fatal medical conditions and/or severe fetal abnormalities, even when it is against the child’s best interests and counter to the family’s wishes. If physicians fail to comply with vague standards of care which are not based in medicine, fact, or science; this bill would make them liable to criminal penalties simply for doing their job.”
Medical experts join Senator Cardin and his Democratic colleagues in opposing this bill. It mandates unwarranted and unnecessary medical care, as well as interferes with the doctor-patient relationship. There is no other circumstance in health care where a family’s wishes are systematically overruled without any determination of whether care is appropriate and in a patient’s best interests. Senator Cardin strongly supports women’s autonomy and rejects this attempt to demonize abortion providers and the women who are placed in such difficult situations.