"CLARIFICATION: This story has been updated to more precisely reflect the language used in Sasse's bill," the article read.
The original phrasing described the implications of a bill that would require abortion providers to give lifesaving care to a baby who survives the procedure.
It also seemed to cast doubt on the wording Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., used to describe care for an infant, putting the phrase "preserve the life and health" in quotes.
"The second bill to be considered Tuesday is the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, sponsored by Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska, that would require abortion providers to work to 'preserve the life and health' of a fetus that was born following an attempted abortion as they would for a newborn baby, or face up to five years in prison," the article read.
The new phrasing doesn't call survivors children or babies, but rather directly quotes Sasse's legislation doing that.
It reads: "The second bill to be considered Tuesday is the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, sponsored by Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska, pertains to cases in which 'an abortion results in the live birth of an infant.' It would require abortion providers to 'exercise the same degree of professional skill, care, and diligence to preserve the life and health of the child as a reasonably diligent and conscientious health care practitioner would render to any other child born alive at the same gestational age.'"
Sasse's office argued, however, that the network's reporting was still inaccurate in that it called his legislation an "abortion restriction." In a statement provided to Fox News, Sasse criticized the apparent delay in updating the article.
“Just read the bill. The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act is about babies who have already been born. I’m glad CNN finally made the correction, but there’s no reason this needed to take two days. Planned Parenthood desperately wants to misrepresent this bipartisan, pro-babies bill and unfortunately too many reporters have bought their spin hook line and sinker.”
Pro-life activists vehemently criticized the original phrasing.
National Review's Alexandra DeSanctis suggested the fetus phrasing was ridiculous. "Did you catch that? 'A fetus that was born.' What is that? Isn’t that just . . . a newborn infant? The contortion and intentional obfuscation at play here speaks for itself," she wrote on Tuesday.
Students for Life of America President Kristan Hawkins similarly blasted the network in a statement to Fox News, saying "CNN needs a refresher course on basic human development."
"A fetus that was born is called a baby," Hawkins said. "And a baby born during an abortion and left to die is a victim of infanticide. These basic facts should be common knowledge. But the verbal gymnastics of the abortion lobby shows just how anxious they are to hide the truth of what they are working for -- abortion up to and including infanticide."
The wording surrounding abortion became an issue in 2019 as state legislatures weighed a series of heartbeat bills, which banned abortions after the point at which a doctor can detect a heartbeat. That often occurs around six weeks into a pregnancy.
While reporting on Louisiana's bill, The New York Times used the term "embryonic pulsing" in lieu of "heartbeat."
"The measure would require an ultrasound test for any woman seeking to terminate a pregnancy, and forbid abortion if the test detects embryonic pulsing — which can occur before many women know they are pregnant," one of its articles read.
The lede in that article said the bill would ban abortions after "the pulsing of what becomes the fetus’s heart can be detected."