Donald Trump's claim in New Jersey that Democrats want to 'execute babies' is one of many GOP abortion falsehoods

Alfred Lubrano, The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in Political News

Former President Donald Trump recently told a crowd of thousands in Wildwood, New Jersey, the baseless claim that Democrats want to pass an abortion law that enables doctors to “execute” newborns.

“If the radical Democrat extremists get their way,” Trump said during his May 11 rally, “they will have a federal law — an abortion in the eighth and ninth month, and even executing the baby after birth.”

Trump has mentioned infant executions in previous speeches that were repudiated by the Poynter Institute, a nonprofit media research organization, which asserted: “Democrats aren’t calling for the killing of infants after birth.”

That Trump’s statement is untrue seemed to mean little to audience members, who cheered as Trump repeated it — an example of how misinformation about abortion has taken hold with a significant portion of Trump’s base.

And the falsehoods are expected to multiply in the lead-up to a high-stakes presidential election in which abortion will be a key dividing line between the candidates.

“What some people say about abortion becomes resistant to facts and knowledge,” said sociologist Judith Levine, director of Temple University’s Public Policy Lab. “They create confirmation bias — the comfort of having your fears and angers validated, and enjoying having company in outrage.”


Levine said repetition of inaccurate information about the procedure creates “an echo chamber of inflammatory ideas,” as was demonstrated by Trump’s speech.

Levine stressed that there’s a difference between those who simply believe abortion is wrong, and those who perpetuate lies about an already fraught topic.

How is abortion misinformation spreading on the campaign trail?

Trump’s influence on abortion was evident last month at the conservative Pennsylvania Leadership Conference in Camp Hill, which was attended by Republicans who will appear alongside the former president on the Pennsylvania ballot, including Senate nominee Dave McCormick and U.S. Rep. Scott Perry.


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