Trump to Sign Order on Premature Babies, in Appeal to Right

President Donald Trump announced to a Catholic prayer breakfast on Wednesday that he’s signing an executive order purporting to protect babies born prematurely, in an appeal to anti-abortion voters ahead of November’s election.

“I will be signing the Born Alive Executive Order to ensure that all precious babies born alive, no matter their circumstances, receive the medical care that they deserve,” Trump said in a videotaped address to the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast.

Trump has occasionally seized on remarks in January by the governor of Virginia, Ralph Northam, to falsely accuse Democrats of promoting abortions even after children are born. His new order comes as he struggles to make up ground against his re-election challenger, Joe Biden, who leads Trump in averages of national polls and in many battleground states.

It wasn’t immediately clear what the order would do. A person familiar with the contents of the order said it would point out various existing laws that could be used to strengthen protections for premature babies.

The president also announced that he would increase federal funding for neonatal research, though did not disclose how or by what amount.

Northam, a doctor, said in a radio interview in January, in defense of Democratic state legislation on late-term abortions, that in some cases -- babies in which “there may be severe deformities” or “a fetus that’s nonviable” -- hospitals may opt not to provide life-saving care.

“The infant would be delivered; the infant would be kept comfortable; the infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desire, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother,” he told Washington radio station WTOP.

Trump later said that Northam had “stated that he would allow babies to be executed after birth.”

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