What Does Trump Think Should Be Done When A Non-Viable Baby Is Born?
Last night, at his rally in El Paso, Texas, Donald Trump said a lot of stupid things and lied a whole lot. This is something we have all come to expect. He tells lies, and then we -- the in-crowd, the ones who know better -- laugh at those lies, and the people who like him continue believing those lies. He is never forced to offer proof, and neither are any of his surrogates.
A lot of these lies are extremely dangerous, like the one he told last night about how Democrats are supposedly very into post-birth executions of perfectly healthy newborns these days.
Holy shit -- Trump falsely accuses Ralph Northam of saying he supports "a newborn baby [coming] out into the world,… https://t.co/E9taDflDbr— Aaron Rupar (@Aaron Rupar)1549940459.0
Previously, we have discussed how this is completely untrue. No one is killing born babies. That would be murder, and it's already illegal everywhere. But Donald Trump is going to keep saying it, his surrogates are going to keep saying it, because it's effective and no one is daring to challenge them on it directly.
As Tommy Christopher of Mediaite pointed out after the State of the Union speech, cable news has been extremely delicate about challenging this bullshit, if they even address it at all.
But on the other cable networks, there was scant effort to correct the lies about [Virginia Governor Ralph] Northam, if there was any at all. One CNN anchor read a statement from Northam's office in response to these lies, while one MSNBC anchor paraphrased it. The subject barely came up beyond those two references, and when it did, it was pretty terrible.
In an interview with S.E. Cupp over the weekend, former Obama senior adviser David Axelrod said that accusing Northam of supporting infanticide was "a little bit unfair." And in a pre-SOTU interview on CNN, Kellyanne Conway repeated the lie twice, to which anchor Jim Sciutto replied "Kellyanne Conway, thanks very much for taking the time."
And on CNN's State of the Union, former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe was asked about Northam's comments and volunteered that Northam "misspoke," and that "no Democrat I know is for infanticide," a characterization that anchor Jake Tapper had not made.
It is not "a little bit unfair," it is absolutely fucking ridiculous. It is sickening. I don't know why they're handling this so delicately -- if they think that giving it less attention will make it go away or if they assume no one "actually" believes it or if they're just trying to be "fair" to "both sides" or what, but it's the wrong move. We will lose this election because there are millions of people out there who sincerely believe that Democrats are going around murdering perfectly good babies for shits and giggles. This is not a thing to gloss over, people really do believe it and they are extremely upset about it.
Online, in a vacuum, CNN is perfectly comfortable explaining why this is a ridiculous thing to believe, even interviewing actual ob-gyns who were more than happy to explain why people have abortions later in a pregnancy.
Abortions later in pregnancy typically occur because of two general indications: lethal fetal anomalies or threats to the health of the mother. Some fetal development problems or genetic anomalies do not show up or develop until later in pregnancy. Some examples might include anencephaly (described above) or limb-body wall complex, when the organs develop outside of the body cavity. With conditions like these, the fetus cannot survive out of the uterus.
But the only people who are going to read that, for the most part, are people like me and people like you, and we already know all of these things. The only way to truly challenge this bullshit is to do it to the faces of those who believe it, and keep doing it over and over again until they are so embarrassed and so tired of trying that they just give up. Donald Trump tells lies because he and his surrogates are never forced to actually answer for them. These lies are not made embarrassing enough, and that's a problem.
People who believe ridiculous things are rarely pressed on them to their faces. They get to say what they believe, and then there is no actual pushback, no requirement that they prove what they are saying is true. We might go off and talk about it amongst ourselves, I might write an article on Wonkette about how a bunch of idiots believe a stupid thing, we might see people we follow on Twitter going "Oh god, can you believe what these people are saying NOW?" but there's no true confrontation.
What I want to see is for every single Trump surrogate on every single show to be asked to explain, in great detail, what it is they think should happen when a non-viable baby, a baby that is not going to survive, is born. I want them to be forced to explain what they think non-viable is, what they think "stillborn" means. If they evade the question, I want it asked over and over again and I don't want them to be let off the screen until they explain all of this. I want Donald Trump to be asked, directly, about this, should he ever be interviewed by an actual journalist.
What I want is for everyone who comes across someone in the wild who believes this bullshit to ask them directly what they believe the process for handling a situation where a baby is non-viable should be. I don't want anyone to be allowed to toss this into the ether without fear of being challenged and made to look like an idiot.
This is not a thing where people get to just have differing opinions and it doesn't really matter. This is not whether or not God exists or which flavor of ice cream is best. It is not a consequence-free situation. When people believe things like this, people get hurt. Clinics get bombed. Abortion providers get shot. Parents are forced to watch their children suffer excruciatingly painful deaths. People die in childbirth. We get completely absurd, science-free, anti-abortion laws that make no sense.
How many times do we have to learn the lesson that there are consequences to just letting people have their stupid beliefs? Damage to the environment, measles outbreaks, idiots showing up to pizza parlors with assault rifles, assholes assaulting immigrants because they think all immigrants are murderers, people opposing social welfare programs because of weird lies they have been told about the kind of people who use those programs, people opposing affirmative action while screaming about "quotas," which for the love of god have been illegal in this country since 1978 -- not to mention Fox news anchors spreading listeria, probably, because they don't believe in germs and therefore do not wash their hands.
There are far too many problems in this country that could be solved with a simple "prove it."
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. In addition to her work at Wonkette, she also has a biweekly column at Dame. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse