Today, the state House of Representatives is scheduled to vote to override Governor Cooper’s veto of Senate Bill 359, the so-called Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. If the bill gets 72 out of 120 votes—or 60 percent of whoever shows up—it would mark the first time since Democrats broke the GOP supermajorities that Cooper’s veto didn’t hold up.
That’s not a given: The first House vote, in mid-April, only garnered 65 ayes, though one Republican didn’t vote and eight lawmakers (five Dems, three Republicans) were no-shows, so if three of them vote no, the bill dies. It could have died earlier this week, had the Senate Democratic caucus stuck together. Instead, Senator Don Davis of Pitt County decided that he knew better than women and doctors and gave Republicans the last vote they needed to get the three-fifths majority. (Davis, for what it’s worth, is one of two Dems not to co-sponsor a Medicaid expansion bill, and the only Democrat not to co-sponsor a bill to reinstate pay hikes for teachers with advanced degrees.)
But here we are.
So it’s worth pointing out, regardless of today’s result, how cynical this vote is. It’s ostensibly designed to prevent doctors from murdering viable babies who survive abortions. In other words, a woman undergoes a late-term abortion of her otherwise healthy fetus, the abortion doesn’t take, the fetus is born a healthy child, and the abortion doctor lets it die. For funsies.
Here’s how noted brain genius President Trump recently described what he called “extreme late-term abortion,” in which babies are ripped from their mothers’ womb right up until the moment of birth”: “The baby is born, the mother meets with the doctor, they take care of the baby, they wrap the baby beautifully, and then the doctor and the mother determine whether or not they will execute the baby.”
This is the Nazi-esque scenario our lawmakers say they’re trying to prevent. What they say is there’s a loophole for death-by-purposeful-negligence: The abortion doctor might not actually strangle the baby, but he might just ignore it and go watch some TV until it’s dead or something.
Can we just be clear about the fact that this doesn’t happen? Like, ever?
As I’ve written before: Third-trimester abortions are vanishingly rare, accounting for just 1 percent of abortions in the U.S. They’re expensive and painful, and are almost always performed because the fetus isn’t viable or birthing it might kill the mother. Second-trimester abortions are also rare, just 8 percent of abortions in America, and are often sought by women who can’t get access to abortion services in the first trimester.
To put what should be a very fucking obvious point on it: No woman carries a fetus for seven or eight months and then decides on a whim to kill the thing just because.
In his veto message, Cooper pointed out that letting a child who was born alive die through neglect was already quite illegal, which is the same conclusion PolitiFact came to. In other words, this exercise is pointless and redundant.
So why are we doing it?
Politics, of course. Trump’s reelection campaign is all about riling up the base via culture wars—abortion, immigration, guns, etc.—and the NCGOP is reading from the same playbook. So the idea here is to get Roy Cooper and his Democratic allies on record opposing the “protection” of “abortion survivors,” then run ads about how they literally want to kill babies.
Which is to say: It’s all bullshit that would make Lee Atwater proud.
Thanks for making today possible, Senator Davis.
Update: The House delayed its vote on the override, which was originally scheduled for Thursday.
A bill protecting born-alive babies is “cynical”? Up-is-down Orwellian double-speak much?
I think your world-view is beyond cynical and pandering and in the realm of obscenely cozening. Talk about forked-tongue rhetoric.
Using the f word, and diminishing the gravity of the matter does not do any true journalism any justice. The fact of the matter is that 77% of the polulation think some basic protection is the humane thing to do.
Also, the tired, overly cliche reference to Trump being a ‘nazi” is a tried and true exercise in utter futility, and has been proven false over and over again.
To the editors of this publication. I highly suggest you do not allow such a unprofessional and innacurate piece of “journalism” to be approved without at least editing the thing for language that isn’t offensive to the average reader, if not edited for the content itself.
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