March 5, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – While self-styled professional “fact-checking” outlets like Snopes and PolitiFact still enjoy a measure of respect from the uninitiated, to the rest of us they’ve long been a sick joke: partisan publications running interference for Democrats and left-wing interests just like a dozen other media mouthpieces, only wrapped in twice the level of insistence that they’re totally impartial and therefore authoritative.
Examples to the contrary are legion, but PolitiFact’s piece last Thursday on President Donald Trump and infanticide should destroy any remaining scraps of confidence that the website is anything else.
As readers know, last week all but three Senate Democrats opposed a bill that would have simply required abortionists to get a newborn baby to a hospital if he or she was born alive after a failed abortion. We don’t know how many Democrats in the House of Representatives would break ranks for decency, but multiple votes have been blocked in the current session and only five voted “yes” when it came up in 2015.
In response, the president declared:
Senate Democrats just voted against legislation to prevent the killing of newborn infant children. The Democrat position on abortion is now so extreme that they don’t mind executing babies AFTER birth […] This will be remembered as one of the most shocking votes in the history of Congress. If there is one thing we should all agree on, it’s protecting the lives of innocent babies.
That got the attention of PolitiFact’s Louis Jacobson, who slapped Trump with a “False” rating based on some of PolitiFact's most tortured reasoning yet:
Broadly, critics of the bill said that it would take decisions out of the hands of parents and medical professionals and hand it to politicians. Democrats also argued that the number of relevant cases is vanishingly small, and usually involve heartbreaking situations that often have specific, unusual factors at play that are hard to accommodate in advance.
What “decisions” would those be? The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act doesn’t mandate specific treatments for any given “heartbreaking situation”; its language simply mandates that newborn patients who just dodged abortion be shown the “same degree of professional skill, care, and diligence” as would be given following an intended birth, and that he or she then be “immediately transported and admitted to a hospital,” where medical professionals who don’t have a financial interest in the child’s death would take over.
That’s it; nothing in the bill changes or controls a single thing about how the hospital or parents would proceed from there.
Because of this, they saw the bill as a chance for Republicans to embarrass Democrats rather than as a genuine piece of legislation aiming to solve a significant problem.
An “embarrassment” Democrats could have easily avoided, at no cost to themselves or their pro-abortion policy preferences, by simply voting to protect newborns. In fact, Democrats embracing the bill would have embarrassed Republicans and severely undermined what is currently pro-lifers’ most popular talking point.
Perhaps the Democrats’ most basic argument in the context of Trump’s charge, however, is that laws already exist to cover the scenario the bill would seek to prevent, making the new bill redundant.
Jacobson goes on to quote Sens. Chuck Schumer and Patty Murray to that effect, as well as a handful of laws, namely the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act of 1974 that makes some federal funding contingent on not withholding treatment from newborns (which is obviously irrelevant here, as losing tax money isn’t a ban) and the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act of 2002, which Jacobson admits has no criminal penalties.
State, rather than federal, laws “are the primary source of protection against active or negligent killing of infants born during the process of abortion,” said Teresa S. Collett, a law professor at the University of St. Thomas and director of the university’s Prolife Center. In 2002, Collett said, Congress identified 30 states that had some statutory protection for infants surviving an attempted abortion.
The idea that Democrats – the party that consistently favors the federal government taking issue after issue out of states’ hands, including abortion – can get out of Trump’s charge by crying “federalism” doesn’t pass the laugh test.
So to recap the facts checked so far, Democrats overwhelmingly oppose legislation to keep abortionists from intentionally letting newborns die. Nothing in the bill could plausibly be claimed to have any other effect on Democrats’ other policy preferences. The bill would solve deficiencies in the laws of at least 20 states. Democrats have offered no plausible explanation for opposing the bill.
Nevertheless, Jacobson concludes that “Trump’s use of the word ‘executing’ grossly exaggerated the Democratic position”:
Merriam-Webster’s definition of “execution” agrees. It says the word refers to “a putting to death, especially as a legal penalty.” Certainly the deaths envisioned by the recent bill aren’t carried out as a legal penalty […]
No one supports actively killing newborns, much less “executing” them; the contested terrain concerns what efforts should be made to extend the lives of babies who are not expected to survive long with severe disabilities.
This is dishonest on two levels. First, notice how the discussion is unquestioningly framed with the abortion lobby’s insistence that nobody even thinks about letting a baby die unless there are severe medical issues, while the primary scenario the law is meant to address – a murderous industry disposing of healthy victims when an abortion doesn’t go as planned – goes ignored.
Second, putting aside the question of whether “fact-checkers” should even be giving True/False ratings to questions of rhetoric rather than fact, Trump is absolutely right. The abortionist just tried to abort – to actively kill – that exact same baby, with Democrats’ full support. The only reason not to send the baby to a hospital after (where, again, medical experts in something other than killing will still be able to discuss humane options in truly extreme medical cases), is if you want that baby dead.
It should be “embarrassing” that anyone elected to federal office in the United States in 2019 could defend that. But instead of feeling the natural stigma associated with being on the wrong side of violence against children, its enablers can take comfort in the willingness of major media organizations to offer them cover, no matter how badly they have to insult readers’ intelligence to do it.