President Trump rebukes late-term abortion in SOTU, draws praise from pro-life groups

President Donald J. Trump delivers his State of the Union address at the U.S. Capitol, Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019, in Washington, D.C.
President Donald J. Trump delivers his State of the Union address at the U.S. Capitol, Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019, in Washington, D.C. | Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead

President Donald Trump rebuked supporters of late term abortion and urged Congress to ban the practice in his State of the Union speech Tuesday night as conservatives and pro-life activists cheered the move.

Calling out recent decisions by lawmakers in New York and a proposal in Virginia, supported by the state’s embattled Gov. Ralph Northam, to allow abortions up to birth, Trump stressed the importance of protecting the life of all children – born and unborn – who are expressions of “the holy image of God.”

“There could be no greater contrast to the beautiful image of a mother holding her infant child than the chilling displays our nation saw in recent days. Lawmakers in New York cheered with delight upon the passage of legislation that would allow a baby to be ripped from the mother's womb moments before birth,” the president said to much applause.

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“These are living, feeling, beautiful babies who will never get the chance to share their love and dreams with the world. And then, we had the case of the governor of Virginia where he stated he would execute a baby after birth. To defend the dignity of every person, I am asking Congress to pass legislation to prohibit the late-term abortion of children who can feel pain in the mother's womb,” he continued. “Let us work together to build a culture that cherishes innocent life. And let us reaffirm a fundamental truth — all children — born and unborn— are made in the holy image of God.”

The president’s remarks came as Dr. Leana Wen, president of abortion giant Planned Parenthood, sat in the audience as a guest of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Responding to the president calling out his state, New York’s Democrat Gov. Andrew Cuomo dismissed Trump as a liar, pointing to a report in The Washington Post arguing that New York legislation would not have “allowed a baby to be ripped from the mother’s womb moments before birth.”

“The lies that we heard tonight are nothing new. The only thing new is that it is the President pushing these falsehoods,” Cuomo tweeted.

Pro-life organizations such as March for Life, which seeks to end abortion by uniting, educating, and mobilizing pro-life people in the public square, applauded the president for condemning extreme abortion.

“We applaud the President for condemning the extremist abortion propositions out of New York and Virginia and for calling on Congress to ban late-term abortion during his State of the Union Address. The American consensus opposes abortion after the first trimester, yet some politicians continue to embrace and perpetuate an unprecedentedly radical pro-abortion agenda,” said March for Life Action President Tom McClusky.

He then named Northam and Pelosi for her support of Planned Parenthood and said they were out of touch with America’s current view of abortion.

“While politicians like these are in step with a powerful abortion lobby, they are out of touch with the American people. We ask Congress to heed President Trump’s call to pass legislation prohibiting late-term abortion as well for a quick floor vote in the Senate on the Born-Alive bill so that Governor Northam’s infanticide fantasy may never be reality. It is time for politicians, regardless of party, to stand up in favor of protecting innocent life,” he added.

On Monday, a bill meant to preserve the life of babies who survive an abortion attempt was rejected by Senate Democrats after Nebraska Republican Sen. Ben Sasse pleaded with them to unanimously pass the measure.

The bill sought to require "any health care practitioner present" at the time of a birth to "exercise the same degree of professional skill, care, and diligence to preserve the life and health of the child as a reasonably diligent and conscientious health care practitioner would render to any other child born alive at the same gestational age."

It exempted mothers involved from prosecution, and proposed requiring practitioners to "ensure that the child born alive is immediately transported and admitted to a hospital." A possible term of imprisonment of up to five years for violations, not including penalties for first-degree murder that could also apply was also proposed.

The U.S. House passed a similar bill in January, 2018. 

A similar bill, the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, was signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2002, but that legislation didn't contain any penalties or enforcement mechanisms. 

“This isn’t about Republicans or Democrats. We're way beyond that. Everyone in the Senate ought to be able to say unequivocally that the little baby deserves life. That she has rights, and that killing her is wrong,” Sasse declared in remarks seeking unanimous consent on the rejected Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act.

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