Tuesday, 16 April 2019 15:03

COLUMN: NC Republicans exploiting outrage

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Republicans in the North Carolina Senate passed a bill last night designed to fire up its base in the 2020 election. They called it “The Abortion Survivor Bill.” In reality, it’s a bill that does virtually nothing but gives GOP members of the legislature a reason to bash Democrats when they’re pandering to their evangelical base. 

According to North Carolina Health News, the bill “would punish doctors who don’t attempt to resuscitate and provide care for a fetus that might be born alive during an abortion attempt.” That’s not something that really happens. The bill is an attempt to make Democrats vote against it so Republicans can tell their voters, “Democrats would let a live baby die on the table.” It helps the crowd that excuses every excess of Donald Trump feel good about themselves. 

Republican Sen. Dan Bishop of HB-2 fame is the self-righteous voice of indignation on this bill. He, of course, is running in the primary in NC-09 and this bill plays right to the base in the rural part of that district. It’s a cynical move that might help him consolidate support before the April 30 election.

It’s a pretty disgusting bill that’s origins lie with a poorly framed comment by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam. Northam told a radio interviewer that in the case of a baby born with severe deformities that the infant might be allowed to die without additional care. Those conditions might include being born without essential organs. Northam said a doctor and parent would decide the course of action. 

That, of course, is not what Republicans said. They have twisted the argument into claiming pro-choice Democrats want to allow abortion up to nine months of pregnancy. They’re framing the debate as if healthy, viable infants are left to die or are aborted in the final trimester of pregnancy. It says a lot about what Republicans believe about their base and it also shows how the GOP is working to turn people away from Christianity.

This bill plays on the prejudices of an ill-informed base that worships Fox News and is willing to believe the worst about Democrats. The GOP is cynically taking an issue that might leave babies alive with no hope of a life without machines and using it to score political points. What they won’t do is pass legislation that would pay for the medical costs of keeping those babies alive for weeks, months or even years. 

They’re also appealing to the shrinking number of evangelical Christians in the country. Evangelicals are generally far less educated than the population as a whole and the GOP is preying on their ignorance and their fears. It’s no wonder that young people are rejecting church and organized religion. People turn to religion seeking spiritual fulfillment. All they’re getting from evangelicals today is political outrage.  

 

Thomas Mills is the founder and publisher of PoliticsNC.com. Before beginning PoliticsNC, Thomas spent 20 years as a political and public affairs consultant. Republished with permission from PoliticsNC.com.