WASHINGTON (OSV News) – The U.S. House of Representatives Jan. 11 passed two pro-life measures, however neither has a clear path through the U.S. Senate to become law.

The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act passed first in a 220-210 vote, with one member, Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, D-Texas, voting present, and with Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, joining Republicans to support the bill. According to proponents, the bill would require any infant that survives an abortion procedure to receive appropriate medical care for their gestational age.

Pro-life advocates gather near the U.S. Capitol in Washington Jan. 18, 2019. The U.S. House of Representatives on Jan. 11, 2023, passed two pro-life measures on abortion, although neither have a clear path to passage by the U.S. Senate. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)

A second measure, a resolution condemning violence against “pro-life facilities, groups and even churches,” also passed in a 222-209 vote. This resolution condemned the violence that erupted following the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 2022 decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization which overturned prior precedents that found a constitutional right to abortion.

Three Democrats, Rep. Gonzalez, as well as Reps. Chrissy Houlaha of Pennsylvania and Marie Perez of Washington state, joined the resolution.

Neither measure is likely to be considered by the Senate, which remains under Democratic control.

The measures come in the first week of legislative business for the new Republican majority in the House after spending their first week in power electing a House speaker, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.

The votes took place as some Republican leaders, including former President Donald Trump, have blamed the issue of abortion as being responsible for the GOP’s lackluster performance in November’s midterm elections.

However, the House saw Republicans publicly restate their commitment to advancing pro-life policies.

Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., the House Republican Conference vice chairman who introduced the resolution condemning the violence against pro-life facilities, said in a statement Congress needed to “make the position of Congress crystal clear: violence, property damage, threats and intimidation tactics must be condemned, and these clear violations of federal and state laws must be prosecuted.”

Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., co-chair of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus, said in remarks on the House floor that “pregnancy care centers across the country have suffered a surge of violent attacks, firebombing and vandalism by pro-abortion activists in a coordinated effort to intimidate frontline volunteers and licensed medical professionals providing critical support to mothers in need and their unborn baby boys and girls.”

“Now more than ever, we – and that includes the Biden administration – need to ensure the safety and security of the estimated 3,000 pregnancy care centers that provide life-affirming alternatives to abortion — offering critical, quality care for pregnant women facing challenging circumstances and helping to save so many unborn, innocent lives,” Smith said.

Some lawmakers supportive of legal abortion, including Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., however, argued Republicans should condemn violence against abortion clinics.

“Republicans have put forth a measure that condemns attacks on anti-choice facilities but says nothing about the growing violence against women’s health clinics,” DeGette wrote on Twitter. “By ignoring these attacks, Republicans are sending a dangerous message that will embolden the extremists behind them.”

Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Mo., who sponsored the reintroduction of the Born-Alive bill, said in a statement the legislation would “provide commonsense protections for innocent children and their mothers and will ensure all babies receive the essential care they need at an incredibly vulnerable moment.”

“All children should have the right to receive life-saving care, especially those who survive an abortion,” she said.

However, Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., chair of the House Progressive Caucus, stated the bill is redundant.

“This bill is absurd for so many reasons, number one, it is obviously ALREADY illegal to kill a baby,” she posted to Twitter, adding: “The only new action this bill takes is to threaten jail time for health care workers.”

Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of Arlington, Virginia, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee for Pro-Life Activities, praised the House for passing the Born-Alive bill.

“We commend the House of Representatives for passing legislation to protect innocent children from infanticide, and urge the Senate to follow suit,” Bishop Burbidge said in a statement. “Babies who are born alive during the process of an abortion deserve compassionate care and medical attention — just the same as any other newborn baby.”

Infants who survive botched abortions are rare, but Melissa Ohden, founder and CEO of the Abortion Survivors Network, said in a statement that tens of thousands of abortion survivors like her do exist.

“We applaud Congresswoman Wagner’s leadership in ensuring infants like me, and countless others, are guaranteed medical care and legal protections when abortions fail and life wins,” she said.

Other leading pro-life organizations praised the House for passing these measures.

Jeanne Mancini, president of the March for Life, said in a statement her organization “is grateful to House Republicans for prioritizing commonsense and compassionate pro-life bills in the new Congress.”

“We urge all legislators to vote in favor of these measures which align with the values of the vast majority of Americans,” she said.

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, said in a statement, that the GOP leadership recognized the federal government’s “crucial role in protecting our most vulnerable children and their mothers in the Dobbs era,” and both initiatives “affirm the sanctity of life.”

“Our government’s most sacred duty is to safeguard the lives of all Americans,” she said.

PHILADELPHIA (CNS) – Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is a powerful symbol of eternal values, said the head of Ukrainian Catholics in the United States.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy reacts after addressing a joint meeting of Congress in the House Chamber of the U.S. Capitol in Washington Dec. 21, 2022. (CNS photo/Evelyn Hockstein, Reuters)

“He represents those who are willing to give their lives for the truth, for God-given human dignity and for freedom,” said Archbishop Borys Gudziak of the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia in a statement shared with Catholic News Service Dec. 22.

Archbishop Gudziak joined a delegation of Ukrainian and Ukrainian American leaders at the U.S. Capitol for Zelenskyy’s Dec. 21 in-person evening address to Congress.

The group included Father Mark Morozowich, a Ukrainian Catholic priest who is dean of the School of Theology and Religious Studies at The Catholic University of America in Washington.

Zelenskyy’s speech capped a one-day visit to Washington. The journey was his first known venture outside of Ukraine since Russia launched its full-scale invasion Feb. 24.

In his 20-minute speech, which he delivered in English, Zelenskyy demonstrated “he stands with his people, and … in a particular way he wanted to thank Americans,” said Archbishop Gudziak. “He expressed the gratitude of Ukrainians in many forms and many ways.”

Since Feb. 24, the U.S. has provided Ukraine with approximately $21.3 billion in military aid, with another $1.85 billion — including Patriot missiles — announced Dec. 21 by the Biden administration.

With the Senate’s Dec. 22 passage of the latest government spending bill, U.S. aid to Ukraine since February is poised to top $100 billion.

Amid multiple standing ovations from lawmakers, Zelenskyy assured Congress that “Ukraine is alive and kicking” and that Ukraine, the U.S. and Europe shared in a “joint victory” of “(defeating) Russia in the battle for minds of the world.”

That battle “is not only for life, freedom, and security of Ukrainians or any other nation which Russia attempts to conquer,” said Zelenskyy. “This struggle will define in what world our children and grandchildren will live, and then their children and grandchildren. It will define whether it will be a democracy of Ukrainians and for Americans, for all.”

That stark assessment stands in contrast to a 21st-century worldview in which “we’ve deconstructed almost everything, when everything is up for grabs, when truth is transactional,” said Archbishop Gudziak. “The people of Ukraine are saying, ‘No, there is good and evil. There is truth, and there are lies, and we are willing to give our lives for that.'”

Zelenskyy presented Congress with a Ukrainian flag signed by troops in Bakhmut, where he made an unannounced visit Dec. 20. Located in Ukraine’s eastern region, the small city has seen some of the bloodiest battles of the war, which continues attacks Russia launched in 2014 with the attempted annexation of Crimea and the backing of separatist regions in Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk provinces.

Since then, hundreds of thousands have been killed, including 14,000 between 2014 and 2022 alone, and an estimated 10,000 to 13,000 Ukrainian soldiers from Feb. 24 to the first week of December.

The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights has recorded 6,755 civilians killed since Feb. 24. U.N. figures show the war has displaced approximately 13.7 million in total, 7.8 million across Europe and 5.9 million internally. Ukraine’s National Information Bureau reports some 11,500 Ukrainian children have been deported to Russia.

Prosecutors in Ukraine are investigating at least 50,000 war crimes committed by Russian forces since February, including summary executions, torture, rape and castration. Relentless, direct attacks on civilian infrastructure by Russia have left millions of Ukrainians without access to electricity, heat and water.

Ukraine has filed an application with the International Court of Justice to charge Russia with committing genocide. The International Criminal Court is currently collecting evidence of potential crimes as well.

“Since the 17th century, Russia has been doing this to us,” said Ukrainian history expert Nicholas Rudnytzky, professor and dean of academic services at Manor College in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania. “Every time Ukrainian nationalism grew enough, they attempted to knock it down.”

He stressed that “democracy has to be defended; otherwise, tyranny wins.”

Zelenskyy’s visit provided the U.S. with an essential reminder of that reality, said Archbishop Gudziak.

“I think we Americans need Ukraine,” he said. “We need the inspiration, we need the willingness to sacrifice, and we need to be a part of this defense of freedom and dignity in the face of absolute evil. I have no doubt that millions of Americans were inspired and understood better what they so generously support. And this support should continue.”