WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald Trump’s Sept. 23 announcement that he will issue a “Born Alive Executive Order” will “provide necessary legal protections for some of the most vulnerable in society,” said Jeanne Mancini, president of the March for Life Education and Defense Fund.

“These steps had to be taken,” she said, “because some Democrats in the Senate promised to block legislation that mandates basic medical care for children who survive an abortion — an extremist view shared by vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris.”

Mancini made the comments in a statement she issued shortly after Trump announced the order in his remarks during the annual National Catholic Prayer Breakfast, which this year could not be an in-person event because of the pandemic and was livestreamed to over 10,000 registered participants.

“We believe in … the eternal truth that every child, born and unborn, is made in the holy image of God. … I will always defend the sacred right to life,” the president said. His executive order will “ensure that all precious babies born alive, no matter their circumstances, receive the medical care that they deserve. This is our sacrosanct moral duty,” he said.

Trump’s opponents and some obstetricians and gynecologists say existing law that already provides protections to newborns, whether born during a failed abortion or under other circumstances.

Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Nebraska, the lead co-sponsor of the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, S. 311, has said current law does not provide enough protections. His bill would protect newborns who survive abortions by requiring appropriate care and admission to a hospital. On Feb. 23, a Senate vote to advance the bill failed.

In other reaction to Trump’s planned executive order, said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life, “protects the youngest of patients and ensures that their right to life is defended to the greatest extent of the law.”

Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life Action, called it “a humane response to a struggling infant gasping for air.”

“The fact that Democrats in the House and Senate have blocked efforts to provide legal protections for babies born during botched abortions should horrify all Americans,” she said, adding that “one of the sleeper issues of this election cycle is infanticide, which is allowed under our current laws.”

The Guttmacher Institute estimates that out of about 926,000 annual abortions, about 12,000 take place after viability, or after 20 weeks, she said.

“The radical reality of Roe is that abortion is legal in the U.S. through all nine months, sometimes with taxpayer funding, and it offers no legal protections for babies born during botched abortions,” Hawkins said.