For Immediate Release: Wednesday, September 23, 2020
Washington, DC — Today Donald Trump announced his plan to issue a new executive order, coined as a “Born Alive” order, an intentionally inflammatory term that is not grounded in medical science. The move is a clear political calculation aimed at distracting the American public—77% of which supports Roe v. Wade—and a bad-faith attempt to rile up Trump’s anti-choice base in order to ram through the confirmation of a U.S. Supreme Court justice hostile to reproductive freedom to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. In response, NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue released the following statement:
“It is downright cruel and a slap in the face to the American public that President Trump is deploying dangerous disinformation in a power grab for the Supreme Court, not to mention using executive powers to impose his own extreme ideology when he can’t jam through his agenda legislatively. Trump is once again eager to interfere with difficult, complicated family decisions that we all hope to never find ourselves facing, while exploiting disinformation about these devastating circumstances in order to score cheap political points.
The U.S. has tragically surpassed 200,000 deaths from COVID-19. If Trump, Mitch McConnell, and Senate Republicans spent half as much time trying to deal with the pandemic as they do pushing lies on the American people, this country would be better for it. But putting people’s health and lives before their draconian agenda is not, and will never be, their priority.”
The term “born alive” is not a term rooted in science or reality. Not only does Trump’s reasoning for this executive order completely mischaracterize abortion care, this disinformation opens the door to allowing politicians to interfere with family decisions about palliative care for an infant who tragically won’t survive for long. These families are making the best decision they can in heartbreaking circumstances.
The myth that Trump peddles is cruel to families facing deeply difficult situations and reveals a desire to tie families’ hands and curb their ability to decide what care or path forward is best. Parents facing these situations often want to spend this very limited time with their infant comforting them. Politicians shouldn’t force medical intervention when families are trying to peacefully say goodbye to a child who cannot survive. The disinformation vilifies families and the doctors who care for them and wildly misleads the public about these rare and complicated scenarios.
In covering this news, it is important to avoid amplifying right-wing disinformation and to include critical context around the inflammatory term “born alive.” Here is a language guide created by NARAL Pro-Choice America and Global Strategy Group to guide accurate reporting on abortion.
Born Alive: An inflammatory and inaccurate term not rooted in medical science and used by anti-choice activists and politicians who claim they want to protect an infant who is “born alive.” In these tragic cases, a baby is dying and politicians are suggesting taking away a parent’s ability to make the best decision for their family about palliative care for the infant in exceptionally difficult circumstances.
For over 50 years, NARAL Pro-Choice America and its network of state affiliates and chapters have fought to protect and advance reproductive freedom—including access to abortion, contraception, and paid family leave—for every body. NARAL is powered by its more than 2.5 million members from every state and congressional district in the country, representing the 7 in 10 Americans who believe every person should have the freedom to make the best decision for themselves about if, when, and how to raise a family.