The left-wing publication Snopes is confusing readers again with what is supposed to be a clarifying fact check about the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act.
Snopes claimed it is “mostly false” that Democrats in the U.S. Senate “voted to allow health care practitioners to let babies die, untreated, if born alive after an abortion” in 2019 and 2020.
But readers who look past the initial rating and read the entire article will notice that, according to the facts cited by Snopes, it is actually true.
Snopes based its rating on two points: first, that federal and state laws already provide some protections for babies born alive after abortions and, second, that the senators gave reasons other than supporting infanticide for their opposition to the bill.
Democrats in both the U.S. House and Senate voted dozens of times to block the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act (SB 311) in 2019 and 2020. The legislation would add vital protections to already existing state and federal laws by requiring the same level of medical treatment to be provided to an infant who survives an abortion that a medical worker would give to any other baby born at the same gestational age. It also adds criminal penalties for medical workers who neglect or refuse to do so.
Initially, Snopes argued that Democrats were “not really” voting to allow babies to die because state and federal laws already prohibit infanticide. Later, however, it acknowledged that the legislation is not redundant, as Democrats claimed when they voted against it, but it adds new protections for babies nation-wide.
According to the fact check:
Federal law already explicitly states that babies born alive, regardless of the circumstances, are human persons and should be treated as such in the context of criminal law. …
This means that intentionally killing a baby born alive can be, and is, prosecuted as murder, since the baby is defined under the 2002 act as a human person. In principle, it also means that doctors and nurses have the same professional, legal, and ethical responsibility to babies born alive after failed abortions as they do to babies born alive in other circumstances.
The 2002 law does not include an explicit, affirmative duty of care for health care practitioners and does not stipulate any penalties for failing to provide appropriate care. However, many individual states do.
But 16 states do not, as Snopes admitted later in the article: “While the 2002 law empowered states to enact their own ‘born alive’ abortion laws, and 34 states have opted to do just that, 16 states have not, and SB 311 would introduce a ‘born alive’ abortion law that would apply uniformly throughout the entire country. By voting to block the progress of SB 311, the Democratic and Independent senators did undoubtedly prevent that outcome from becoming much more likely.”
In other words, in 16 states, babies who are born alive in abortions can be left to die without medical treatment, and the most powerful Democrats in the U.S. voted to keep it that way.
Snopes, however, tried to argue otherwise by citing Democrats’ reasons for voting against the bill. Some “felt it was unnecessary in light of existing law” and others thought it would be inappropriate to punish medical workers and “interfere in the doctor-patient relationship.”
“None said they had voted against the cloture motions in order to allow babies to be left to die or expressed indifference about that outcome,” the fact check claimed.
Of course none of the senators said it openly, but their statements indicate that they do support it. Their claims about the legislation being unnecessary because laws already protect babies is not true, as the facts in Snopes’ own report indicate.
And interfering in “the doctor-patient relationship” in this scenario means making sure a baby who is supposed to be dead from an abortion but miraculously survives does not get actively or passively killed after birth. Importantly, this “relationship” involves a doctor who unsuccessfully tried to end the baby’s life and a patient who directed the doctor to do so.
When Democrats said they do not think criminal penalties are appropriate, they meant that medical workers should not face consequences for contributing to a newborn child’s death by neglect.
Snopes responded to the issue with its typical liberal bias, but, hopefully, with all the facts there, readers will be able to see past the bias and figure out the truth on their own.