Two major pro-choice groups and a prominent Democratic representative are criticizing President Trump’s executive order that requires medical personnel to protect babies who survive an abortion.
Trump issued the executive order on Friday, two days after he told a Catholic group he would be signing a “born-alive executive order to ensure that all precious babies born alive, no matter their circumstances, receive the medical care that they deserve.”
Democratic Rep. Diana DeGette (Colo.) criticized Trump the day he signaled he would be signing the order. She is co-chair of the Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus.
“President Trump just announced he will sign an executive order that seeks to limit women’s access to reproductive care,” DeGette tweeted. “This is yet another egregious attack on women’s rights. We will not sit idly by and allow this administration to strip away our rights!”
🚨BREAKING: President Trump just announced he will sign an executive order that seeks to limit women’s access to reproductive care.— Rep. Diana DeGette (@RepDianaDeGette) September 23, 2020
This is yet another egregious attacks on women’s rights.
We will not sit idly by and allow this administration to strip away our rights!
The order, known as the Executive Order on Protecting Vulnerable Newborn and Infant Children, was released Friday and states that “every infant born alive, no matter the circumstances of his or her birth, has the same dignity and the same rights as every other individual and is entitled to the same protections under Federal law.”
It references several laws, including the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, the Rehabilitation Act and the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, which was signed by President George W. Bush in 2002. That latter law protects infants who survive an “induced abortion.”
NARAL Pro-Choice America issued a press release criticizing Trump for issuing the executive order, saying the phrase “born alive” is “an intentionally inflammatory term that is not grounded in medical science.”
“It is downright cruel and a slap in the face to the American public that President Trump is deploying dangerous disinformation in a power grab for the Supreme Court, not to mention using executive powers to impose his own extreme ideology when he can’t jam through his agenda legislatively,” said Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America. “Trump is once again eager to interfere with difficult, complicated family decisions that we all hope to never find ourselves facing, while exploiting disinformation about these devastating circumstances in order to score cheap political points.”
NARAL Pro-Choice America said Trump is promoting disinformation that “opens the door to allowing politicians to interfere with family decisions about palliative care for an infant who tragically won’t survive for long.”
“These families are making the best decision they can in heartbreaking circumstances,” NARAL said of infants who survive abortion. “The myth that Trump peddles is cruel to families facing deeply difficult situations and reveals a desire to tie families’ hands and curb their ability to decide what care or path forward is best. Parents facing these situations often want to spend this very limited time with their infant comforting them. Politicians shouldn’t force medical intervention when families are trying to peacefully say goodbye to a child who cannot survive. The disinformation vilifies families and the doctors who care for them and wildly misleads the public about these rare and complicated scenarios.”
Meanwhile, the Clergy Advocacy Board of Planned Parenthood also criticized Trump for the executive order, saying he and other politicians are “creating a false narrative to score political points.”
“The situation this executive order pretends to address simply does not happen, but the cruel stigma it creates for those seeking abortions is very real,” the Clergy Advocacy Board said in a statement. “Our experience teaches, first and foremost, to avoid judging those who would seek an abortion, no matter the reason. When we are called upon to provide prayer, counsel, and support, we see that every pregnancy is different, and that pregnancy must not be taken for granted, especially in those circumstances when something goes horribly wrong.”
Melissa Ohden, who survived an abortion as a baby and founded the Abortion Survivors Network, estimates that more than 17,000 infants have survived an abortion since Roe v. Wade. She bases her stat on government data.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Joshua Roberts/Stringer
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.