The House has passed a bill making cruelty to animals a federal felony punishable by hefty fines and up to 7 years in prison, while House Democrats continue to refuse to hear a bill protecting human infants who are born alive following a botched abortion.
While previous law only provided felony charges for animal cruelty when a person films or distributes footage of organized animal fighting, according to the new Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (or PACT) Act, a person can now be prosecuted at the federal level for crushing, burning, drowning, suffocating, impaling, or sexually abusing and exploiting animals. The only exception to the rule is hunting.
"These malicious acts deserve federal scrutiny and action. Federal prosecutors and law enforcement officials will finally have the tools they need to bring those responsible for cruelty to animals to justice," Humane Society Legislative Fund President Sara Amundson said, per CNN.
At the same time, House Democrats, under the leadership of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have blocked the GOP’s Born Alive Infant Protection Act from getting a vote 69 times over the course of six months as of mid-July. The bill would fill gaps in current federal law by requiring that doctors provide the same level of medical care for a baby born alive after a failed attempt at abortion as they would for any child of the same gestational age, and would mandate under penalty of jail time that they transport the child to the nearest hospital for further treatment.
Failure to comply with the law would carry a punishment of up to 5 years in prison, two years less than the House’s new animal cruelty bill.
The Heritage Foundation notes that in addition to the 143 cases of born-alive infant death that could “definitively be classified as involving an induced termination" occurring between 2003 and 2014 and reported by the CDC,
- Florida reported that in 2017, 11 infants were born alive following an abortion, and six were born alive in 2018. Florida law includes protections for born-alive babies.
- Arizona reported that in 2017, 10 fetuses or embryos were delivered alive following an abortion. Arizona law includes protections for born-alive infants.
- Minnesota reported that in 2017, three babies were born alive following an abortion. Minnesota law includes protections for born-alive infants.
- Oklahoma’s 2017 report includes a section tallying infants born alive, but the information is “suppressed to maintain confidentiality,” indicating that at minimum one infant was born alive following an abortion. Oklahoma law includes protections for born-alive infants.
But clearly, these human children aren't nearly as important to Congress - and particularly House Democrats - as yellow labs and calicos.