NYT Op-Ed Deceptively Confuses Preemies With Babies Born Alive After Abortion

NYT Op-Ed Deceptively Confuses Preemies With Babies Born Alive After Abortion

Sen. Ben Sasse's bill merely requires a medical team to treat a survivor of abortion the same as Jen Gunter’s doctors treated her three premature babies.
Margot Cleveland
By

On Monday, Sen. Ben Sasse’s Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act fell short of the 60 votes needed to move the legislation to a floor vote. All 44 of the “nay” votes came from Democrats or supposed independents, including presidential hopefuls Cory Booker, Sherrod Brown, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren.

While the party of Planned Parenthood needed to kill the bill, voting to withhold medical care from an infant lucky enough to escape the womb alive isn’t the best look for a party hoping to win back the Senate and White House in 2020.  So yesterday saw the liberal media’s launch of a rehabilitation effort for their party.

But how do you prop up a politician who votes to allow newborn babies to die? Easy: With misdirection and prevarication.

Misleading, Evasive Media Coverage

The New York Times led the charge, publishing Dr. Jen Gunter’s op-ed, “I Didn’t Kill My Baby.” Gunter is an obstetrician and gynecologist who has performed late-term abortions. She lost her son Aidan—one of the triplets she was carrying—when he was born extremely premature at 22 weeks gestation.

Gunter’s loss is tragic. But it has nothing to do with abortion. Gunter didn’t have an abortion; her water broke at 22 weeks and three days gestation. Doctors were unable to delay Aidan’s birth, and he died shortly after Gunter delivered him. Physicians apparently succeeded, however, in delaying Gunter’s delivery of her other two babies, because she notes in passing that Aidan’s two siblings survived.

Gunter does not provide any details, though, because that would not serve her purpose. Her op-ed seeks to attack the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act by portraying her tragic loss as equivalent to an abortion: “If you are going to accuse me of executing my child, then you need to know exactly what happened. It’s not a pleasant story and the ending is terrible. I wouldn’t blame you for not wanting to read it. But you need to know the truth, because stories like mine are being perverted for political gain.”

No one is talking about stories like Gunter’s. No one is accusing Gunter of executing her son. And try as she might to equate her situation to the focus of the legislation, which concerns abortion survivors, Gunter did not have an abortion. The only one perverting anything for political gain is Gunter!

To be clear: The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act speaks only of babies born alive following “an abortion or attempted abortion.” The bill also does not mandate “heroic measures,” or “invasive procedures,” as Gunter implies. It simply requires that health practitioners provide the abortion survivor with the same health care “any other child born alive at the same gestational age” would receive. (The abortion doctor must also immediately transport the baby to a hospital.)

Making Sense of Gunter’s Argument

In fact, Gunter’s entire op-ed perfectly illustrates the need for, and functioning of, the proposed Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. The medical team caring for Gunter and Aidan concluded, in their reasonable and conscientious judgment, that Aidan could not survive and that no further health care was medically necessary. Conversely, the medical team caring for Gunter’s other two premature babies concluded that further medical care was appropriate. The bill merely requires a medical team to treat a survivor of abortion the same as Gunter’s doctors treated her three premature babies.

Gunter also makes the incomprehensible claim that the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act is “nothing more than a way to warp the reality of perinatal mortality (stillbirth or death within the first week of life) to create confusion about abortion.”  Perinatal mortality is a tragic reality, but it has nothing to do with Sasse’s bill. Any confusion between the two stems solely from Gunter’s attempt to manipulate the sympathy the public feels for her loss.

In her op-ed, Gunter adds another dubious but oft-repeated claim, stating that abortions “at or after 24 weeks of gestation, the time largely accepted as viability, are typically performed because of severe fetal anomalies or fetal anomalies combined with maternal health problems.” But a Congressional Research Service report from April 2018 looked at that question and cited an expert in the field (and an abortion apologist) Dr. Diana Greene Foster, who “believes that abortions for fetal anomaly ‘make up a small minority of later abortion.’”

Anecdotally, we also have Beth Vial’s op-ed for Teen Vogue from earlier this month. In “What It Was Like To Get A Later Abortion,” Vial recounted her trip to New Mexico to abort her healthy, viable unborn baby at 28 weeks of gestation. Not quite the typical scenario Gunter would have readers believe, which just goes to show that Vial is too young, too naïve, or too indoctrinated by the “shout your abortion” crowd to realize her story horrifies ordinary Americans.

Gunter knows better, which is why she set herself up as the strawman: the suffering, still-mourning mom. But the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act isn’t about Gunter or her son Aidan, or about any of the other moms who bear children only to bury them. The bill is about the Vials of the world, and the vile doctors who attempt to abort viable fetuses—and when they fail, leave the infants to die.

All the distortion that is fit to print will not change that reality.

Margot Cleveland is a senior contributor to The Federalist. Cleveland served nearly 25 years as a permanent law clerk to a federal appellate judge and is a former full-time faculty member and current adjunct instructor at the college of business at the University of Notre Dame. The views expressed here are those of Cleveland in her private capacity.

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