At the recent National Catholic Prayer Breakfast, President Trump spoke via pre-recorded video, announcing his intent to sign a “Born Alive Executive Order” order to “ensure that all precious babies born alive, no matter the circumstances, receive the medical care that they deserve,” adding, “This is our sacrosanct moral duty.” The text of the executive order (EO) was released shortly thereafter.
While many pro-life groups have reported that the EO will offer protections for babies born alive during botched abortions, it appears that this may not be the case for children who survive abortions in abortion facilities. The EO does, however, extend protections to children with disabilities and children born alive during premature births or abortions in hospital settings and emergency departments.
An attorney familiar with the EO told Live Action News that “[t]he EO clarifies that infants born alive have to be treated under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) and the Rehab Act, which functionally means that infants born alive in hospitals (which would include infants born alive following an abortion) and other federally funded healthcare clinics have to be treated in order to comply with those laws,” but that “the EO doesn’t really do anything for babies born after a failed abortion in an outpatient abortion clinic, only in hospitals and federally funded healthcare clinics.”
The attorney added, “This would also apply in the situation where a mom delivers early for whatever reason, and a baby is born before a certain gestational age (the hospital may have a policy on the gestational age at which they will treat a premature baby)—for example, hospitals may sometimes refuse to treat infants born alive if they are younger than 22 weeks, and this EO requires that they be given medical treatment rather than left to die.”
Because of this EO, perhaps mothers like Amanda Finnefrock — whose twins Emery and Elliott were refused medical intervention when born at 23 weeks and 5 days — will no longer have to watch hospital employees stand by while their children struggle for life.
In order to fully protect abortion survivors, including those born in non-hospital settings, Congress would need to pass the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. A press release from the Christian Medical Association notes:
While the executive branch can only reach as far as federal funding and existing law allows to protect babies born alive, Congress still has the opportunity to pass the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. This legislation simply requires that, when an abortion results in the live birth of an infant, healthcare professionals must exercise the same degree of professional skill and care to protect the newborn as would be offered to any other child born alive at the same gestational age.
Tragically, the abortion lobby’s allies in Congress actually have filibustered in the Senate and continue to block in the House this fundamental human rights bill—legislation that simply protects the right to life of babies who have already been born.
As CMA noted, efforts to pass this legislation in the House have failed dozens of times, with pro-abortion House leadership refusing to even allow a floor vote on the Act, which would require medical care for abortion survivors and would provide stiff penalties for abortion providers who violate the Act. Various House members have signed a discharge petition asking for a vote to be permitted, and in May, Live Action News reported that the petition had “205 of the 218 signatures it needs to force a floor vote,” still coming up significantly short of the signatures needed. The article also noted:
Originally sponsored by Rep. Ann Wagner, the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act requires that infants who survive an abortion attempt receive immediate medical attention. The petition effort arose after a Senate version of the bill failed to receive the 60-vote majority threshold it needed to pass. If this petition succeeds, it would force a full-floor vote on the issue. The petition expires at the end of the 116th Congress session in January 2021.
— Team Trump (Text VOTE to 88022) (@TeamTrump) September 23, 2020
Requiring protections for infants born alive during failed abortions should be uncontroversial, but instead, abortion supporters in Congress continue to deny that infants survive abortions. According to Fox News, “Jacqueline Ayers, a vice president at Planned Parenthood Action Fund, argued Trump was trying to solve a ‘nonexistent’ problem. ‘Health care providers already have an obligation to provide appropriate medical care,’ she said.”
But as Live Action News has already shown, the current law on abortion survivors has no “teeth,” so to speak — no penalties for those who choose not to treat abortion survivors as children with rights.
Despite claims that children don’t survive abortions, data from the Centers from Disease Control and Prevention proves that infants are surviving abortions every year. As Live Action News noted, “Despite only a handful of states requiring these reports, Centers for Disease Control data reviewed by the Charlotte Lozier Institute found that, ‘[N]ationwide, between 2003 and 2014 at least 143 babies died after being born alive during botched abortions, though the CDC also states this could be an underestimation.'”
The “dreaded complication” of abortion survivors has haunted the abortion industry for decades, and continues to occur today. Former fetal tissue procurement technician Holly O’Donnell told undercover Planned Parenthood investigator David Daleiden that she was asked to harvest organs from a child at a Planned Parenthood affiliate while that child still showed clear signs of cardiac activity. O’Donnell stated, “And she just taps the heart, and it starts beating. And I’m sitting here and I’m looking at this fetus, and its heart is beating, and I don’t know what to think.”
According to the Catholic News Agency, “Trump also announced that his administration would be ‘increasing federal funding for neonatal research, to ensure that every child has the very best chance to thrive and to grow.'”
Children deserve protection from the moment of fertilization. However, ensuring that all infants who are born alive – even during procedures intended to take their lives – should be something upon which both sides of the abortion debate can agree.
“Like” Live Action News on Facebook for more pro-life news and commentary!