On Friday, September 25th, Trump signed the Executive Order on Protecting Vulnerable Newborn and Infant Children, requiring that federally funded facilities provide life-saving medical care for infants who survive abortions.(1)
This act by President Trump comes on the heels of increasing efforts in America to provide protections for those infants who have survived abortions and ensure that they are given proper care at both the state and federal level. Chief among these efforts has been the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, a bill that would have amended the federal criminal code to require any health care practitioner who is present when a child is born alive following an abortion or attempted abortion to exercise the same degree of care as reasonably provided to any other child born alive at the same gestational age, and ensure that such child is immediately admitted to a hospital instead of remaining in the care of the abortionist.(2)
These efforts, however, have been met with staunch resistance from pro-choice advocates. The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act has been voted down or filibustered time and time again through near-unanimous opposition by Democrat senators and congress members.(3)
Pro-choice politicians have called these laws unnecessary infringements upon women's rights, pointless political maneuvering, and a solution in search of a nonexistent problem. Many believe that abortionists have become so efficient at what they do that survival is impossible, and that survival stories are relics that are rarely if ever seen in the modern world.
Such beliefs, however, are not in any way backed by evidence. While it is unclear just how many babies are born alive following failed abortions in America, as most states do not record this information, and what research we have from the CDC is limited and dated, it is clear that survival is not only a modern-day occurrence but that it happens with startling frequency.(4)
Among those few states that do have reporting requirements, many cases where children survived failed abortions are reported occur every year. In Arizona, for example, ten such cases were reported over a five-month period from August to December in 2017, and similar numbers were recorded for Florida. In Minnesota, hospitals have generally reported an average of five children being born alive following abortions every single year, and never less than three. Occasionally, comfort care is provided to these infants, but rarely if ever are any measures taken to preserve the child's life. Instead, they are simply allowed to die.(5)(6)(7)(8)
(Minnesota Abortion Survivors 2017 - Minnesota Department of Health Report to the Legislature)
People survive abortions in the United States with alarming frequency, but they are not being cared for or properly protected even after birth. Executive actions and laws to protect abortion survivors an unfortunate modern-day necessity given the realities we face, addressing a pressing national problem.
The executive order Trump signed on Friday is a step in the right direction, ensuring that all federally funded facilities provide life-saving medical care for abortion survivors, premature infants, and those born with disabilities. This will undoubtedly help abortion survivors, but it does not resolve the problem. Until more adequate protections are provided, such as those outlined within the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, many survivors of abortion will likely continue to suffer from neglect, discrimination, and the denial of life-saving medical treatment at hospitals across the United States.(9)
The debate over abortion has become not only a debate over the lives of the unborn, but the lives of those who have already been born as well, and we all have a duty to protect them as we would the life of any other child.