On Wednesday, President Donald Trump announced he would sign an executive order to protect the lives of babies born alive in a botched abortion. A similar bill failed in the Senate last year, but Democrats have argued that the legislation is “redundant.” If so, they should have no complaints when the president issues his order, right?
“I will always defend the sacred right to life,” Trump announced at the 16th annual National Catholic Prayer Breakfast. “Today I am announcing that I will be signing the ‘born alive’ executive order to ensure that all precious babies born alive—no matter their circumstances—receive the medical care that they deserve. This is our sacrosanct moral duty.”
— Team Trump (Text VOTE to 88022) (@TeamTrump) September 23, 2020
President George W. Bush signed the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act of 2002, which extended legal protection to an infant born alive after a failed attempt at an abortion. Yet last year, Gov. Ralph Northam (D-Va.) suggested that the law is not enforced. He said that doctors would allow babies to die if they were born in an attempted abortion.
Northam had responded to the public outcry over a radical abortion bill he supported. Delegate Kathy Tran (D-Springfield) had testified that under the new bill, abortion would be legal until the beginning of labor so long as one doctor — even just the abortionist — testified that carrying the baby to term would damage a woman’s life or health.
Under current Virginia law, late-term abortions require the approval of three doctors who must certify that the pregnancy would “substantially and irremediably” damage the woman’s life or health. Tran’s bill would strike the “substantially and irremediably” language.
Yet in defending the bill, Northam went even further. He explained that, if a baby survives a late-term abortion, the baby would be “kept comfortable” while the parents and the doctor discussed whether or not to “resuscitate” the infant.
Northam’s infanticide remarks inspired an old classmate of his to leak the blackface-KKK photo to the media, creating a firestorm for the governor and leading to demands that he resign.
Last year, Senate Republicans introduced a bill that would “prohibit a health care practitioner from failing to exercise the proper degree of care in the case of a child who survives an abortion or attempted abortion.”
Roughly 77 percent of Americans would support a bill to outlaw infanticide or the killing of a baby after birth in an attempted abortion, but every single Democratic senator who ran for president voted against the bill, including Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Joe Biden’s running mate.
Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), who introduced the bill, quoted the 2020 Democrats, citing their soaring rhetoric as reasons to support the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Act.
He quoted Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.): “The people in our society who are most often targeted by predators are also most often the voiceless and vulnerable.” Sasse replied: “Amen to that.”
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Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.