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Kaine Statement On S. 311

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released the following statement after voting against proceeding to consideration of S. 311, the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act:                     

“Today I voted against the Senate proceeding to take up S. 311, just as I did last year. We should not unnecessarily create new federal crimes and penalties to punish behavior that is already illegal under existing state and federal laws. One Pennsylvania physician, Dr. Kermit Gosnell, did commit these horrific crimes a number of years ago. He was rightfully prosecuted and imprisoned for homicide under current law.

“I have been struck that members were not able to fully debate the bill, as there was no committee mark-up. Why deny Senators the ability to shape the content of a proposed law? Bills regarding infant health should be treated with seriousness, not as political stunts. Instead of criminalizing or stigmatizing health care providers or women, we should be taking proactive steps to protect the health of newborns and their mothers.

“In that spirit, I have listened to advocates, including proponents of S. 311, and worked for a number of months to develop legislation that would combat maternal mortality and improve infant health. This legislation is designed to better support pregnant women and their newborns and help address the egregious racial and ethnic disparities facing minority communities in Virginia and across the country. I will introduce this bill within the next month. I hope my colleagues on both sides of the aisle who want to protect women and children's health will work with me to see it enacted into law.”

Over the past year, Kaine has held roundtable discussions on maternal and infant health in Virginia to inform his legislation.