Women's rights advocates were relieved late Monday when Senate Democrats blocked an extreme anti-choice bill from advancing to a floor debate--but were soon outraged by President Donald Trump's lies about abortion care, as well as the corporate media for enabling his blatantly false characterization of the bill to stand.
After Senate Republicans failed to meet the 60-vote threshold needed to push through the so-called "Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act," introduced by Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), Trump attacked Democrats for their rejection of a bill that would punish doctors for providing medical care to pregnant women and allow civil action against women themselves for making an often-painful, life-or-death decision about their health and family.
"The Ben Sasse bill was designed to be a part of Trump's playbook...to use fake boogeymen (remember the caravan?) to play to people's basest instincts and scare them into hating anyone other than Trump." --Ilyse Hogue, NARAL Pro-Choice America "Senate Democrats just voted against legislation to prevent the killing of newborn infant children," Trump wrote on Twitter. "The Democrat position on abortion is now so extreme that they don't mind executing babies AFTER birth."
Sasse's proposal would require doctors to provide medical care to an infant after a late-term abortion, exercising "the same degree of professional skill, care, and diligence to preserve the life and health of the child" as he or she would for a healthy newborn baby.
The Republicans' narrative on late-term abortions has suggested that doctors, with the aim of "executing babies," routinely perform the procedure in the third trimester of pregnancy on women who are pregnant with healthy, viable babies and have simply decided several months into their pregnancies that they no longer wish to have a child.
In fact, only 1.3 percent of abortions happen after 21 weeks of pregnancy, and according to the National Abortion Federation, they are "generally limited to cases of severe fetal abnormalities or situations when the life or health of the pregnant woman is seriously threatened."
As NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue explained on Twitter, Trump's statement--and Sasse's claim that the bill is anti-"infanticide"--wildly misrepresent that facts about the legislation.
\u201cIf ANYONE is killing infants, they are murderers and they are charged with murder. That is what everyone agrees should happen and that is, in fact, what happens.\u201d— Ilyse Hogue is @ilyseh on mastodon (@Ilyse Hogue is @ilyseh on mastodon) 1551149993
\u201cThe @BenSasse bill was designed to be a part of Trump's playbook (as an aside: remember when Sasse said he was different from Trump? not so much) to use fake boogeymen (remember the caravan?) to play to people's basest instincts and scare them into hating anyone other than Trump.\u201d— Ilyse Hogue is @ilyseh on mastodon (@Ilyse Hogue is @ilyseh on mastodon) 1551149993
The bill was introduced weeks after Democratic state lawmaker Kathy Tran of Virginia was denounced by Republicans including the president for proposing an amendment to her state's current law allowing third-trimester abortions--permitting the procedure if carrying a pregnancy to term would damage a woman's health in any way.
Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) called Sasse's proposal "clearly anti-doctor, anti-woman and anti-family," with other Democrats joining her in condemning the bill.
\u201cInfanticide is already illegal. Congress shouldn\u2019t be legislating issues that don\u2019t actually exist just to score partisan political points. I voted no. \nhttps://t.co/8QIR2Ap3bc\u201d— Mark Warner (@Mark Warner) 1551141617
\u201cConservative politicians should not be telling doctors how they should care for their patients. Instead, women - in consultation with their families and doctors - are best positioned to determine their best course of care. https://t.co/ri2xLqJrE0\u201d— Senator Mazie Hirono (@Senator Mazie Hirono) 1551132515
\u201cPoliticians shouldn't be making these decisions - women and their doctors should. This bill was a political stunt based on scare tactics and misinformation and I'm glad it failed in the Senate. https://t.co/vLFb0mHLNU\u201d— Chris Murphy (@Chris Murphy) 1551187709
On social media, Hogue also blamed the corporate media for permitting Trump's lies to frame the national discussion on the procedure, with the Washington Post headlining their story on the bill, "Senate Blocks Bill on Medical Care for Children Born Alive After Attempted Abortion." The headline by U.S. News & World Report also fell for the GOP's gimmick: "Dems Block Senate GOP Bill on Infants Surviving Abortions."
"The media is culpable with headlines like this one from the Washington Post, " Hogue wrote, "which would require about 20 minutes of googling to understand how misinformed that frame is."
\u201cThe media is culpable with headlines like this one from the @washingtonpost "Senate blocks bill on medical care for children born alive after attempted abortion" which would require about 20 minutes of googling to understand how misinformed that frame is.\u201d— Ilyse Hogue is @ilyseh on mastodon (@Ilyse Hogue is @ilyseh on mastodon) 1551149993
\u201c.@realDonaldTrump believes that YOU will believe that doctors are monsters, women are completely craven, and Democrats have black souls, because that's the only way his attacks make sense. Don't prove him right by buying this BS.\u201d— Ilyse Hogue is @ilyseh on mastodon (@Ilyse Hogue is @ilyseh on mastodon) 1551149993