A Democrat congresswoman misused a Bible verse on Wednesday to justify her vote against a bill that would protect babies born alive after botched abortions.
Before a vote on the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act in the House of Representatives, Rep. Hillary Scholten (D-MI) cited Jeremiah 1:5 to claim that the government should not be able to make laws surrounding a woman’s ability to choose to end the life of her unborn child.
Rep. Hillary Scholten (D-MI): "As a pro-choice Christian who chose life, this issue is personal to me… When I read scripture, I turn to Jeremiah 1:5 which states 'I knew you before I formed you and placed you in your mother's womb.' It doesn't say the government's womb." pic.twitter.com/IH6Z2KhT4f
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) January 11, 2023
I’m the first mother in history to represent west Michigan in Congress. This matter is deeply personal to me. I recently shared publicly about my own experience navigating a complex miscarriage and the loss of my daughter. As a pro-choice Christian who chose life, this issue is so personal to me. My faith informs my actions, but it doesn’t dictate the policy of an entire nation.
And further, when I read the scripture, I turn to passages, and I’m guided by passages like Jeremiah 1:5 which states: ‘I knew you before I formed you and placed you in your mother’s womb.’ It doesn’t say the government’s womb or the speaker’s womb — it says the mother’s womb.
Scholten then stated that while she believes “life is precious,” she “reject[s] the idea that if I embrace the sanctity of life, I also must be forced to invite the federal government in to regulate it.”
“We must protect families from unnecessary government intrusion into the most sacred and personal decisions of our lives and our children’s lives,” she concluded, making no mention of the fact that the government legislates many issues having to do with life and death, including outlawing murder, and in most states, assisted suicide.
For context, Jeremiah 1:5 is a verse in the Old Testament of the Bible and is about God appointing Jeremiah as a prophet.
The verse and surrounding verses read (New Living Translation):
Jeremiah’s Call and First Visions
4 The Lord gave me this message:
5 “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb.
Before you were born I set you apart
and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.”
6 “O Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I can’t speak for you! I’m too young!”
7 The Lord replied, “Don’t say, ‘I’m too young,’ for you must go wherever I send you and say whatever I tell you.
As can be read, the verse shows God’s sovereignty and omniscience — that God has a purpose and a plan for all people before they even come into existence, while they are in the womb, and when they are born.
Ultimately, the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act passed 220-210. All Republicans voted in favor of the measure, while two Democrats, Reps. Henry Cuellar and Vicente Gonzalez, both of South Texas, defected from their party, voting in favor of the bill and “present,” respectively.
The bill would require medical providers to treat babies born alive after a botched abortion with the same level of care as they would any other newborn, and it adds penalties for violators.
Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO), who led the bill, celebrated its passage in a statement:
Thanks to our efforts, after dozens of unanimous consent requests, two discharge petitions, and countless hours of advocacy work, the House has finally taken action to ensure that every single baby born in the United States receives lifesaving medical care at their most vulnerable moment.
Democrats opposing the measure argued the legislation was pointless in light of a similar but less comprehensive born alive bill signed into law in 2002 and contended the vote was part of a grander plan House Republicans allegedly had to make all abortion illegal in the U.S.
Wagner lamented Democrats’ rejection of the bill, saying, “It pains me that this fight has to be fought at all, but medical care for babies should not be a partisan issue.”
Abortion data from seven states in the U.S. show that at least 34 babies were born alive in botched abortions between 2020 and 2022, Life News recently reported. The pro-life outlet looked at data from Arizona, Florida, Minnesota, Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Michigan, though it noted that “most states do not keep track of the number of babies who survive abortions…”
34 Babies Were Born Alive in Botched Abortions, Possibly Left to Die https://t.co/2hot7hEUqD
— LifeNews.com (@LifeNewsHQ) December 30, 2022
“[A]nd the few that do provide little information about whether the babies received care, survived or were abandoned to die,” according to the report.
While Democrats are not expected to pick up the legislation in the Senate, the vote put 210 House Democrats on the record as opposing the born alive bill. The same bill passed the House in 2018 with the support of six Democrats but failed in the Senate.
Ashley Oliver contributed to this report.