President Trump on Saturday wrongly accused Democrats in New York and Virginia of approving legislation allowing doctors to “execute” newborn infants.
The comments came during his rambling, two-hour speech at CPAC, and were accompanied by cries of “That’s murder” from the conservative audience:
“In Virginia, the governor, a Democrat, stated that he would allow babies to be born…he would wrap them. He would take care of them. Then he’ll talk to the mother and the father as to what to be done. And if they didn’t want the child who is now outside of the womb, long outside of the womb, they will execute the baby after birth.”
It was like listening to a Monty Python sketch, only horrifying.
In spite of Trump’s comments, it is simply untrue that the bill in Virginia, which failed to pass the state legislature, would have allowed doctors to “execute” newborn babies. Gov. Ralph Northam’s comments were intended for the extremely rare cases when a woman carrying a nonviable fetus goes into labor early and delivers a baby that cannot survive outside the womb. Northam was saying it would be up to the doctor and the parents to discuss making the infant comfortable for the short and painful duration of its life.
The Virginia bill pertained to fetuses that are nonviable outside the womb due to extreme abnormalities. The law would have simply reduced the number of doctors a woman carrying such a fetus would have to consult in order to get an abortion in the third trimester of her pregnancy.
This is what makes Trump’s comments worse than one of the multiple lies he tells in an average day. It is simply dangerous to accuse doctors and patients of conspiring to murder healthy children. This sort of rhetoric from anti-abortion activists has had tragic consequences before, inspiring crimes such as the murder of George Tiller and the shooting that killed three people in a Colorado Planned Parenthood in 2015.
Trump’s comments were factually wrong, unnecessarily inflammatory, grossly libelous and dangerous. Other than all that, they were fine.
Watch Trump’s remarks in the video above, via C-SPAN.