Skip to Content

Menu ×

Cotton, Ernst Introduce Legislation to Hold States Accountable for Botched Abortions

October 3, 2019

Contact Caroline Tabler or James Arnold (202) 224-2353

Washington, D.C. - Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) last week introduced legislation that would require states to report information about abortion to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including cases where infants are born alive during abortions. Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee), Mike Braun (R-Indiana), Kevin Cramer (R-North Dakota), Josh Hawley (R-Missouri), James Lankford (R-Oklahoma), Ben Sasse (R-Nebraska), and Tim Scott (R-South Carolina) are co-sponsors of the legislation. Congressmen Ralph Norman (R-South Carolina) and Gary Palmer (R-Alabama) introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

"The American people deserve to know how many babies are born alive during abortion attempts in our country. This is life or death information, yet most states don't collect it. Our bill would require states to report accurate and complete data about abortion, including instances where babies are born alive during abortions," said Cotton.

"America's main source of abortion data comes from a biased think tank that only collects information on a voluntary basis. That's unacceptable. Why wouldn't we want the most reliable and complete data possible surrounding such an important issue?" said Ernst. "Requiring comprehensive reporting from every state will finally give Americans-regardless of your stance on the issue-an accurate look at abortion trends in our country."

"The truth is we have no idea how many children are born alive each year following an abortion procedure. In fact, we don't even have reliable information on the number of abortions performed because states are not compelled to provide those numbers. This bill would rectify that. Congress needs this information in order to make sound policy decisions. Equally as important, the American people deserve to know," said Norman.

"Accurate and transparent reporting on abortion and children who survive abortion attempts is essential to public health research and to determining sound policy," said Palmer. "Reporting abortion data has been voluntary for too long, and this has led to states withholding many data points routinely requested by the CDC. We must standardize and enforce reporting processes in this area and ensure that states have necessary assistance in collecting the required abortion data. States should not be allowed to distort or provide faulty data in an effort to cover up the true numbers of innocent lives lost by abortion."

Background

Currently, states submit abortion data to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on a voluntary basis. Three states totaling 15% of the population fail to provide any data, meaning federal government reports about abortion are based on incomplete information. This bill requires states to report accurate and complete data about abortion as a condition for receiving certain Medicaid family-planning funds.

The bill requires states to report cases where babies are born alive during abortions. At present, only a handful of states record these cases. Three states with robust reporting requirements have recorded dozens of babies born alive during abortions just in the past few years. This bill would give the American people and policymakers a more accurate understanding of how often these tragic cases occur.

The bill is supported by Americans United for Life and the Susan B. Anthony List.