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photo credit:  Jim Bowen / Flickr HB1797, which would the Repeal of the Parental Notification Act of 1995, was introduced on February 16, 2...

September 28, 2020

Trump Signs Executive Order to Protect Preemies and Abortion Survivors

Last week, President Trump announced that he would sign an executive order protecting children born alive during attempted abortions. On Friday, he did just that. The executive order requires doctors to provide medical care to all children born alive, regardless of their gestational age or if they are born during an attempted abortion.

“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,” reads the executive order.

Parents have told stories of their first-hand experience with hospitals that refuse to provide medical treatment to children born prematurely. Because their child didn't meet a specific gestational age required by a hospital, doctors would call these children "non-viable" and let them die rather than attempt to provide them with potentially life-saving medical care. Similarly, some abortion workers have spoken out against the practice of killing children after they are delivered in an unsuccessful abortion. This executive order is designed to prevent these situations.

Arguing on behalf of prematurely born Americans who are being denied healthcare, the executive order argues, "Active treatment of extremely premature infants has, however, been shown to improve their survival rates. And the denial of such treatment, or discouragement of parents from seeking such treatment for their children, devalues the lives of these children and may violate Federal law."

“Such infants are entitled to meaningful and non-discriminatory access to medical examination and services, with the consent of a parent or guardian, when they present at hospitals receiving Federal funds.”

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar commented in a press release, "HHS’s mission is to protect the health and well-being of all Americans, and that means all Americans—including infants born prematurely and infants with disabilities."

While it may not be legislation, this executive order directs the HHS Secretary to investigate reported violations of current federal laws and enforce them when necessary. This may include withdrawing federal funding from institutions that refuse treatment for prematurely-born children.

Click here to read the executive order.

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