A familiar strain of misinformation about Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s stance on abortion is spreading anew after he addressed the issue at a town hall event October 5. Asked about his “particular plan to protect women’s reproductive rights” if the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling were overturned, Biden said “the only responsible response to that would be to pass legislation to make Roe the law of the land.” In response, the anti-abortion LifeNews published an article headlined, “Joe Biden Wants to Make Killing Babies in Abortions Up to Birth ‘The Law of the Land.’” The article, which has been shared at least 2,600 times on Facebook, offered no evidence of Biden’s support for so-called “late-term abortions,” a term misleadingly used by some, including President Donald Trump, to suggest a large number of abortions are performed very late in pregnancy, which is not the case. Trump reacted to Biden’s remarks with a tweet suggesting Biden supports “(very) LATE TERM ABORTION.” That post echoed past tweets and comments by Trump suggesting that Democrats support the killing of newborn children. Biden’s running mate, Kamala Harris, was also the subject of a renewed misinformation narrative ahead of the upcoming debate with her Republican counterpart, Mike Pence. A repost of an August article by LifeNews has been shared 700 times since it was posted October 5, advancing the misleading claim that Harris launched an investigation into anti-abortion activists who had “discovered and produced videos documenting Planned Parenthood’s illegal trafficking of aborted baby body parts.” Multiple criminal investigations into Planned Parenthood’s fetal tissue donation practices have cleared the group of any wrongdoing. Harris, as California attorney general, did investigate two activists who were later charged by her successor on several counts related to their clandestine recordings.
This analysis is from our disinformation email briefings.
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