President signs executive order to protect vulnerable newborns

President Donald Trump on September 25 issued “Executive Order on protecting vulnerable newborn and infant children.” The order ties federal funds disbursed by the Department of Health and Human Services to compliance by health care providers with certain federal laws.

The order states, “It is the policy of the United States to recognize the human dignity and inherent worth of every newborn or other infant child, regardless of prematurity or disability, and to ensure for each child due protection under the law.”

The order refers to the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTLA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (a statute affirming rights for people with disabilities), and the federal Born-Alive Infants Protection Act. “The [HHS] Secretary shall, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law, ensure that Federal funding disbursed by the Department of Health and Human Services is expended in full compliance with EMTALA and section 504 of the Rehab Act, as interpreted consistent with the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act…”

Text of executive order

Commentary on the order, by bioethicist Wesley J. Smith: “Trump Signs Order to Save Babies Who Survive Abortion”

Coalition to FDA: any COVID-19 vaccine should be free from abortion connection

A letter to the commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration from a coalition of concerned Americans has urged that any vaccine being developed for COVID-19 be derived from ethical sources, without use of cell lines derived from aborted human beings. An associated email petition drive organized through the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) invites the general public to send the same message to the FDA.

The April 17 letter says in part, “To be clear, we strongly support efforts to develop an effective, safe, and widely available vaccine as quickly as possible. However, we also strongly urge our federal government to ensure that fundamental moral principles are followed in the development of such vaccines, most importantly, the principle that human life is sacred and should never be exploited.”

The letter, released by the USCCB, is signed by several USCCB members as well as by physicians and other health care professionals, medical ethicists, and pro-life activists.

Not a hypothetical situation

According to the letter, the concern over how a COVID-19 vaccine is to be derived is based on work that is already happening. Practical decisions are being made now.

We are aware that, among the dozens of vaccines currently in development, some are being produced using old cell lines that were created from the cells of aborted babies. For example, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. has a substantial contract from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and is working on a vaccine that is being produced using one of these ethically problematic cell lines. Thankfully, other vaccines such as those being developed by Sanofi Pasteur, Inovio, and the John Paul II Medical Research Institute utilize cell lines not connected to unethical procedures and methods.

It is critically important that Americans have access to a vaccine that is produced ethically: no American should be forced to choose between being vaccinated against this potentially deadly virus and violating his or her conscience. Fortunately, there is no need to use ethically problematic cell lines to produce a COVID vaccine, or any vaccine, as other cell lines or processes that do not involve cells from abortions are available and are regularly being used to produce other vaccines.

coalition letter to FDA, 4/17/2020

share the message

Share this letter and petition as you see fit. The online petition has a clear message, but includes space for your own words.

http://www.usccb.org/about/pro-life-activities/upload/Letter-to-FDA-urging-ethical-COVID-vaccines.pdf

https://www.votervoice.net/USCCB/Campaigns/73486/Respond?fbclid=IwAR1hxb17qXYhIVy8a099oh7PPJh_YBXRi6vJZGV-DvXwP13lXJadrhmlV-Q

This is not about whether vaccines in general are a good idea. (I am grateful for some and reject others.) This is about refusing to embrace abortion in order to cure or prevent COVID-19.

I wish the letter had been unnecessary. The people who signed it clearly saw the need, though. All of them live and work in the real world with real people. They take things like pandemics seriously.

They have the right idea. I’m with them.

Image from United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Image in post header by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 

Sen. Hassan Replies to Message on Born-Alive Bill

I heard back from Sen. Hassan in reply to my emailed request to her that she support the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. Her message appears to have nothing to do with the bill, which calls for care of children who survive attempted abortion. I note that she arrived at her position after, in her words, “careful consideration.”

If I hear from Sen. Shaheen, I’ll post her reply as well.

Thank you for contacting me with your support for S. 311, the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. I value your opinion and appreciate you taking the time to write to me about this important issue.

Late term abortions in the United States are exceedingly rare and occur in the context of complex and difficult health care decisions. I believe patients — in these situations women — must be provided the freedom, privacy, and dignity to make these decisions in consultation with their health care providers and family, in accordance with their consciences, and free from government interference. If a proposed law does not meet this standard, I will be compelled to oppose it.

Thank you again for writing to share your thoughts, and I hope that you keep in touch with me. Though we may not see eye to eye on this issue, I take your concerns seriously and hope that you know I arrived at my position after careful consideration. For more information on this and other important issues please visit my website at https://www.Hassan.Senate.Gov/.

Must-Read Link: Debunking Media Falsehoods on Born-Alive Bill

If you are on Twitter, follow Alexandra DeSanctis. Now, not later: @xan_desanctis. She is a National Review journalist focused on the life issues. She has an article online today that is much better than anything I could write about media coverage of the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act and the U.S. Senate’s recent vote on it.

As an independent voter, I don’t go looking for excuses to trash either major party (although both offer numerous opportunities). As a blogger and a huge fan of the First Amendment, I don’t go looking for excuses to trash journalists (see previous parenthetical remark). DeSanctis in her post today, though, goes after Senate Democrats and some journalists. Tough to argue with her on this one. An excerpt:

In defense of their “no” votes on this eminently reasonable legislation [the Born-Alive bill], Democrats mustered a host of lies — including, most prominently, the easily disprovable claim that the bill is anti-abortion and restricts women’s access to necessary health care.

All one would need to do to determine whether these claims were accurate is refer to the text of the legislation, which every single Democratic senator failed to do. That is for an obvious reason: The bill text did not substantiate their assertions. Nothing in the legislation limits access to abortion or regulates particular abortion methods. The only way it touches on abortion procedures at all is that it protects infants who have survived them.

But Democrats have gotten away with their transparently political rationalizations for turning a blind eye to infanticide because the vast majority of the media is complicit in peddling them. From the moment Virginia governor Ralph Northam uttered his now-infamous endorsement of infanticide (which he attempted to clarify, but never walked back) to the moment Democrats killed the born-alive bill on the Senate floor, media outlets have been engaged in, at best, a wholesale blackout and, at worst, an effort to themselves contort the substance of the legislation.

I recommend her post in full.

Is any party or any politician or any media outlet permanently invested in defending infanticide? I’d prefer to think not. Until we know for sure, though, we need to call out the dead-baby caucus at every opportunity.

Sorry – “dead-baby caucus” is not a bridge-building term. But being unwilling to protect children who survive attempts to kill them: what am I supposed to call that?


I am heartened to hear from readers who are letting Senators Shaheen and Hassan know that their Born-Alive vote was…let’s say disappointing. (There. Is that a bridge-building term?) The Senators offer contact information on their respective web sites, including office locations and hours in New Hampshire and Washington. Each senator’s site also has an email contact form.

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen’s site

Sen. Maggie Hassan’s site

Senators Shaheen and Hassan Vote Against Protecting Abortion Survivors

The U.S. Senate failed to advance the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act today when a cloture motion fell short of the 60 votes needed to prevent a filibuster. New Hampshire Democrats Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan voted No on the bill to prohibit a health care practitioner from “failing to exercise the proper degree of care” in the case of a child who survives an abortion or attempted abortion.

The bill’s chief sponsor is Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE). After hearing speeches from Democrat colleagues who called the bill a threat to “reproductive health care,” he said, “I know a lot of opponents of this bill sincerely believe the talking points that they read from their staffs. We’ve heard speech after speech after speech that have nothing to do with what’s actually in this bill. I urge my colleagues to picture a baby that’s already been born, that’s outside the womb gasping for air. That’s the only thing that today’s vote is actually about. We’re talking about babies that have already been born. Nothing in this bill touches abortion access.”

Senators Hassan and Shaheen refused to support the bill to protect abortion survivors.

From Senator Hassan on Twitter (@SenatorHassan): “Tonight, I voted NO on yet another partisan attack on reproductive health care. Women, families and their doctors are capable of making these complicated medical decisions without government interference.”

From Senator Shaheen (@SenatorShaheen): “The bill forced by Senate Republicans today would significantly interfere with the doctor-patient relationship & pose new obstacles to a woman’s constitutional right to make her own decisions about her reproductive health.”

If “reproductive health care,” “a woman’s constitutional right to make her own decisions,” and “complicated medical decisions” include infanticide, then the New Hampshire Senators’ tweets and votes make sense. Otherwise, I have no idea what bill they thought they were voting on.