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The president's cruel lie about mothers

President Trump falsely claims Wisconsin allows doctors and mothers to execute babies.

Your president just slapped thousands of mothers and their families in the face, again.

At a rally in Green Bay, Wis., late last month, the president of the United States repeated a calculated and categorically false statement to an enthusiastic crowd of supporters: “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,” he said.

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What the president is willfully mischaracterizing is the unfortunate case of thousands of American mothers each year who carry their pregnancies to term, only to discover during the process of giving birth, or after giving birth, that their children will not survive into the next day — at least not without extensive and painful medical intervention, which is only likely to extend the lives of these children by a few hours or a few days at best.

These mothers are faced with the excruciating decision of whether they should insist on invasive, painful and ultimately futile interventions or whether they should provide their child with a comfortable existence for the duration of their short lives, also known as palliative care. This is not a decision that any one of these families takes lightly, and it is certainly not one that they should see politicized on the national stage by a man occupying the highest office in the land.

This is not the first time that the president has made these comments, and this is not the first time that many people have come out to discredit them. However, incendiary comments such as these serve too important a purpose to be encumbered by things like common decency and intellectual honesty. They serve to provide the president and his supporters with something much more valuable than the truth: the validation they so desperately need that they are the “Party of Life” and that they hold the moral high ground. They are intent on holding that ground, regardless of how absurd and offensive the lies they stand upon are — even so called “true conservatives,” who want us to believe that they are not entirely on the Trump Train.

Well, this may come as a surprise to some, particularly many of those who voted red in 2016, but there is no secret society of Democratic mothers conspiring to endure nine months of pregnancy for the purpose of murdering their healthy child immediately after birth with the help of their OB-GYN; and the fact that such a theory has to be repeatedly discounted is as indicative of our collective intellectual failure as the results of the last presidential election are.

There are, however public societies of mothers fighting every day to protect the health and well-being of their children, and the children of those around them, regardless of political affiliation. Here in Baltimore, there is Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense, Moms Clean Air Force, and B’more for Healthy Babies, among many others.

The president would do well to acknowledge these mothers and their contributions to the children that are alive and in need of care and support today, rather than using his platform to spread lies about mothers who have already lost so much.

Ezinne Ogbonna is a student at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health; her email is ezinneogbonna@gmail.com.

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