President Trump signed an executive order Sept. 25 directing the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to ensure that federally funded medical facilities provide life-saving care for infants who survive abortions.
“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,” the order reads.
The order comes after House and Senate Democrats repeatedly blocked efforts to bring H.R. 962—the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act—up for a vote earlier this year.
Eighteen years ago, Congress did pass the 2002 Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, but that was only a definitional change stating that all infants who survive abortion are full persons under the law. It neither required any medical care for infants born alive nor included a provision for prosecuting anyone who failed to provide care.
Under H.R. 962, health care practitioners would be held accountable with fines and up to five years in prison if they failed to offer life-saving care to a child who survived an abortion or attempted abortion.
HHS Secretary Alex Azar explained that the president’s new executive order aims to “ensure that American hospitals comply with their obligations under federal law to provide appropriate screening and medical treatment or transfer for infants, especially those born prematurely and/or with disabilities, and otherwise promote efforts to improve the survival of such infants.”
Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life Action, called the order “a humane response to a struggling infant gasping for air.”
“The fact that Democrats in the House and Senate have blocked efforts to provide legal protections for babies born during botched abortions should horrify all Americans,” she said, adding that “one of the sleeper issues of this election cycle is infanticide, which is allowed under our current laws.”
Jeanne Mancini, president of March for Life, also applauded Trump’s executive order, saying he had “stepped up for life.”
“His actions … provide necessary legal protections for some of the most vulnerable in society—survivors of failed abortions,” she said.
“These steps had to be taken because some Democrats in the Senate promised to block legislation that mandates basic medical care for children who survive an abortion—an extremist view shared by vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris,” she added.
“While any abortion is one too many, the reality is that Americans overwhelmingly want to see greater protections for the most vulnerable. These protections are a strong step in the right direction, and the Senate should move quickly to codify the president’s executive order and pass … [the] Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act.”
In states where late-term abortions occur, reports have surfaced of babies surviving abortion attempts only to be killed outside the womb. One of the most prominent examples was the 2013 criminal case against Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell, who was convicted of first-degree murder in the deaths of three babies authorities said were born alive before having their necks cut with scissors.
Above: President Donald J. Trump boards Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews in Prince George’s County, Maryland, on Sept. 18.