President Donald Trump announced Wednesday he will sign a “Born Alive” executive order, which will require doctors to provide care to all babies born alive, in an appeal to anti-abortion voters.
“Today I am announcing that I will be signing the ’Born Alive’ executive order to assure that all precious babies born alive, no matter their circumstances, receive the medical care that they deserve. This is our sacrosanct moral duty,” Trump said during an address to the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast.
Groups representing gynecologists and obstetricians say there are already laws that protect newborns, but in cases in which babies will die after birth due to severe abnormalities, families can choose palliative care, which would allow the infant to die without intervention, The Associated Press reported.
Those cases that result in abortion later in pregnancy are rare. There were 143 infant deaths related to being born alive after abortions between 2003 and 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“It seems this administration will once again seek a solution to a nonexistent problem. An executive order like Donald Trump described would only spread misinformation, shame people who get abortions, and try to score low-hanging political points,” said Jacqueline Ayers, vice president of government relations and public policy at Planned Parenthood Action Fund, according to The Hill.
Trump has supported the “Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act” sponsored by Sen. Ben Sasse, of Nebraska, The Hill reported. The bill would fine or give prison time to doctors who don’t provide medical care for babies who are born alive after an abortion.
The Senate Judiciary Committee heard testimony on the bill in Feb. 2020.
“The bill maligns and vilifies providers and patients to push a false narrative about abortion later in pregnancy,” Dr. Kristyn Brandi, a board member of Physicians for Reproductive Health, told Vox earlier this year.
Some legal experts say the law isn’t necessary as intentionally killing newborns is already illegal.
“States can and do punish people for killing children who are born alive,” Mary Ziegler, a professor at Florida State University’s College of Law, told FactCheck.org. “Most criminal laws are at the state level not the federal level.”
A majority of Americans believe abortion should be legal in at least some cases, according to a Gallup poll from May 2020.