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Miriam Valverde
By Miriam Valverde February 29, 2020

No, Democratic senators did not high-five after voting for late-term abortion

If Your Time is short

  • Aides for Sen. Heidi Heitkamp and Sen. Chuck Schumer told PolitiFact in 2018 that the senators were greeting each other.

  • The vote in question was to proceed to a motion that would make illegal nearly all abortions after 20 weeks and subject anyone who performed the procedure to prison time or fines.

Democrats are broadly regarded as supporting access to abortion, but did two Democratic senators celebrate a late-term abortion proposal?

No, that’s a false claim.

"Democrat Senators high-five after voting in favor of late-term abortion," said the headline of a Jan. 30, 2018 LifeSiteNews.com post that’s been shared on Facebook.

The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.) 

The story claims that on the Senate floor, Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York "high-fived and then clasped the hand" of Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, "after she voted ‘no’ on ending debate over the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act." The story includes a 27-second C-SPAN video that allegedly shows the celebration.

We fact-checked this claim two years ago when a North Dakota political blog similarly claimed that the two senators high-fived after the controversial abortion vote.

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The vote in question was to proceed to a motion that would make illegal nearly all abortions after 20 weeks and subject anyone who performed the procedure to prison time or fines.

Senators voted 51-46 yea-to-nay; Heitkamp was one of the nay votes.

The video shows Heitkamp walking into the chamber, responding to the clerk’s roll call in the negative, and chatting with Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J. Schumer approaches them; he and Heitkamp wave hello and clasp each other’s hand. Booker pats Schumer’s shoulder. The senators’ conversation is inaudible.

Aides for Heitkamp and Schumer told PolitiFact in 2018 that the senators were greeting each other and that they did not speak about the vote in their interaction. When Heitkamp and Schumer met, the vote was about halfway through, so the hand clasp was not in reaction to a final tally and their exchange did not look like a high-five.

Heitkamp lost her bid for re-election in 2018.

The headline on LifeSiteNews.com inaccurately claims the senators high-fived in celebration of late-term abortion. We rate the post False.

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No, Democratic senators did not high-five after voting for late-term abortion

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