Rep. Scalise Falsely Claims NY Abortion Bill Allows Killing ‘A Baby Born Alive’; Fox News Anchors Let it Slide


This post is by Colby Hall from Mediaite


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Rep. Steve Scalise appeared on Fox News’ America’s Newsroom and was asked about President Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech from Tuesday night. One clip that producers pulled for Scalise to comment on was Trump’s false claim that Virginia Governor Ralph Northam had “stated he would execute a baby after birth.” This false narrative has been a common theme on conservative media outlets, especially Fox News opinion programs, and has received a lot of attention in general. The notion that Northam was arguing for infanticide is flat wrong. The pediatric neurologist spoke during a radio interview last week about giving birth to a nonviable newborn and having a discussion between doctors and parents about life support. Once the child is born, it no longer is an issue of choice/abortion and the set of laws that apply are exactly the same as the “do not resuscitate” regulations that would apply to terminal cancer patient or a dying eelderly family member. The reference was not simply killing a newborn baby, as has been falsely promoted. But Scalise didn’t see it that way and falsely claimed that a late-term abortion law passed in the state of New York allowed for infanticide. “What the president was talking about yesterday was these laws in New York and Virginia where literally when a baby is born alive, that they still can kill the baby. That’s not abortion, that’s murder,” Scalise said, adding “I don’t understand how anybody can say if a baby is born alive you can still kill the baby.” Nobody is saying that “if a baby is born alive you can still kill the baby.” The only people that are saying that are those who are falsely portraying the very harrowing ordeal for expectant parents to deliver a child that will not survive on its own. It’s the very worst fear realized and is being used as a political cudgel by pro-life Republicans and conservatives who, understandably, see no difference between the life of a fertilized ovum and a newborn baby. Here is what the NY bill states (via FactCheck):
The RHA permits abortions when — according to a medical professional’s “reasonable and good faith professional judgment based on the facts of the patient’s case” — “the patient is within twenty-four weeks from the commencement of pregnancy, or there is an absence of fetal viability, or the abortion is necessary to protect the patient’s life or health.” In other words, women may choose to have an abortion prior to 24 weeks; pregnancies typically range from 38 to 42 weeks. After 24 weeks, such decisions must be made with a determination that there is an “absence of fetal viability” or that the procedure is “necessary to protect the patient’s life or health.” That determination must be made by a “health care practitioner licensed, certified, or authorized” under state law, “acting within his or her lawful scope of practice.” Previously, abortions after 24 weeks were justified only in cases where the mother’s life was at risk — which was inconsistent with a part of the Roe decision, as we explain later.

“Fetal viability” is defined as whether or not a fetus is “potentially able to live outside the mother’s womb, albeit with artificial aid.” So it’s clearly an issue of life support and not infanticide. Again, this is a heart-wrenching scenario that, fortunately, is extremely rare in occurrence. But it is certainly not “baby killing” as Trump and Scalise falsely stated. Perhaps more shocking than these false comments (which Scalise was clearly parroting from Trump’s State of the Union lie), was that anchors Bill Hemmer and Sandra Smith let this provably false claim go completely unchecked. Hemmer and Smith are not considered “opinion” hosts and are true news anchors, according to Fox News executives. The fact that they let Scalise bald-faced lie go without any correction suggests that either they are horribly misinformed on the late-term abortion bill, or let their own bias get in the way of hosting a news show. Are those that are promoting the infanticide narrative willfully misinforming their audience (aka lying)… Or are they just willingly misinformed? We report, you decide. Watch above via Fox News.

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