On Wednesday, a debate on a late-term abortions bill in Virginia – favored by Democrats – turned into a key political issue, with President Donald Trump also being involved.
The bill presented by the Democrats, sought to amend current abortions law, by allowing late-term abortions at any point during the pregnancy if the mother’s physical or mental safety are at risk.
The bill also said the procedure would require signature from only one doctor, rather than three.
Virginia’s current law states, third-trimester abortions can be allowed only if the mother is facing “substantial and irremediable” risk to her life. The measure sought to delete this as well.
On Monday, the bill failed to be voted out of subcommittee. Critics called it as a way of allowing infanticide.
Trump believes the proposal would stimulate the anti-abortion movement.
He said, “This is going to lift up the whole pro-life movement like maybe it’s never been lifted up before.”
Virginia’s Democratic Governor Ralph Northam, a pediatric neurologist and friend of many GOP lawmakers, was accused by the Republicans for supporting infanticide.
Northam’s spokeswoman said that he talked only about the cases of “tragic or difficult circumstances, such as a nonviable pregnancy or in the event of severe foetal abnormalities”.
“The governor’s comments were limited to the actions physicians would take in the event that a woman in those circumstances went into labour.”
During an interview with WTOP’s Ask the Governor program, Northam defended the bill, saying the measure would allow termination “in cases where there may be severe deformities” or when there is a “foetus that’s not viable” outside the womb.
“So in this particular example, if a mother’s in labour, 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 mother,” he said.
Recent video of Del. Kathy Tran saying the measure would allow abortions up until the childbirth has been viewed more than a million times.
Trump said, “Do you remember when I said Hillary Clinton was willing to rip the baby out of the womb? That’s what it is. That’s what they’re doing. It’s terrible.”
Republicans said Northam’s views could be seen clearly with the proposed bill.
“I don’t think you can parse it. He was discussing how and whether to allow this child to die after it was alive,” Republican Del. Todd Gilbert said.
“Democrats proposed legislation to allow abortions up to just seconds before that precious child takes their first breath. Thankfully, our strong conservative majority was able to defeat this bill,” tweeted the Republican caucus in the Virginia House of Delegates.
Northam said he is didn’t support infanticide, rather only explained from a medical perspective.
“We believe legislators, most of whom are men, should not be making decisions about women’s choices for their reproductive health. My Republican friends believe something different,” Northam said.