Governor Ralph Northam (D-Va.) refused to condemn a bill in the Virginia General Assembly that would have allowed a woman to request a full-term abortion, even if the woman is in labor.
As IJR reported earlier, Democratic Delegate Kathy Tran proposed a bill that would allow abortion at any time during the pregnancy. During a jaw-dropping back-and-forth between Tran and subcommittee chairman Delegate Todd Gilbert, Tran explained that a woman could request an abortion moments before giving birth if the doctor agreed that her physical or mental health were being strained.
Heartbreaking… This isn't in New York, this isn't in California, this happened just this week right here in Virginia. @VAHouseDems proposed legislation to provide abortions up to just seconds before that precious child takes their first breath. Watch for yourself. pic.twitter.com/AxgPVyI6kU
— VA House GOP (@vahousegop) January 29, 2019
Gilbert: [What if] it’s obvious that a woman’s about to give birth, that she has physical signs that she’s about to give birth. Would that still be a point at which she could request an abortion if she was so certified? She’s dilating?
Tran: Mr. Chairman. That would be a decision that the doctor, the physician, and the woman would make.
Gilbert: I understand that. I’m asking if your bill allows that.
Tran: My bill would allow that, yes.
Many were outraged by the bill and the notion that a woman could opt for an abortion that late in the pregnancy.
The bill was tabled by the Republican-controlled subcommittee, but Tran’s statements quickly became national news.
During an interview with WTOP, Northam was asked about his position on Tran’s bill. Instead of condemning the bill, he said the government shouldn’t involve themselves. He went onto explain that it didn’t matter because the infant would likely have “deformities” and would be “made comfortable” after delivery.
VA gov on abortion this morning:
“If a mother is in labor…the infant would be delivered. The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians & mother" pic.twitter.com/cc15pVLjIQ
— Caleb Hull (@CalebJHull) January 30, 2019
“This is why decisions such as this should be made by providers, physicians, and the mothers and fathers that are involved. When we talk about third-trimester abortions, these are done with the consent of obviously the mother with the concent of the physicians — more than one physician, by the way. And it’s done in cases where there may be severe deformities, there may be a fetus that is non-viable. So in this particular example, if a mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen. The infant would be delivered. The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mothers.”
Northam also explained that men shouldn’t be allowed to tell women what to do with their bodies, even if it means aborting a baby minutes before birth.
“I think this was really blow out of proportion,” said Northam. “This is why legislatures, most of whom are men, by the way, shouldn’t be telling a woman what she should and shouldn’t be doing with her body.”