Introduced on Tuesday, the amendment bore resemblance to another "born alive" bill that House Democrats rejected earlier this year.
Some on Twitter argued that Gabbard was attacking women's rights and trying to address a non-existent problem.
"Tulsi Gabbard also introduced a redundant bill that claims to protect infants in the infinitesimally rare cases they are born after attempted abortions," feminist Jill Filipovic said, noting that "infants are already legally protected."
Democrats have generally argued that legislation is redundant as the Born Alive Infant Protection Act of 2002 already guarantees care for babies who survive abortions. That particular bill clarified that born alive children had the same rights as others, but didn't directly apply penalties in the statute itself. National Review's Alexandra DeSanctis has argued that "born alive" legislation is necessary for that very reason.
Imani Gandy, an editor at Rewire, also denied that infants were "born alive" after abortions. "Hi, @TulsiGabbard," she tweeted. "You seem to be under the impression that born alive is a thing. It is not. Shame on you. I don’t know what your problem is but you’re turning out to be a real right wing s--t heel."
Laws like Gabbard's are generally intended to protect individuals like Gianna Jessen who claims to have survived a botched saline abortion. The Centers for Disease Control reported that between 2003 and 2014, 143 infants were born alive during abortion attempts.
"[I]t is possible that this number (143) underestimates the total number of deaths involving induced termination," the CDC noted. "In some cases, when a vague term such as “termination of pregnancy” was reported as due to a severe congenital anomaly or maternal complication, it was impossible to determine whether the pregnancy terminated spontaneously as the result of the anomaly or complication, or whether the mother elected to terminate because of the anomaly or complication."
The issue featured prominently in Republicans' political messaging after Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam indicated in 2019 that doctors should be able to refuse life-saving care to infants who survive abortions. “When we talk about third-trimester abortions... it’s done in cases where there may be severe deformities. There may be a fetus that’s nonviable," he said.
Outside of Northam's comments, recently released testimony from David Daleiden's civil trial has revealed that Planned Parenthood saw at least one infant born after an abortion, and may have seen more.
On Friday, others like writer Susan Rinkunas piled on to Gabbard as well. "[P]eople paying attention knew Tulsi has been s--t on abortion rights the whole time," she tweeted alongside headlines previously knocking Gabbard's stance on the issue.
Writer Maggie Smith accused Gabbard of being part of the GOP.
"Tulsi, please," she said. "If you’re in your final days as a member of Congress, and you choose to spend that time introducing bills that are blatantly anti-trans and anti-choice, you’re in the GOP."