Virginia Governor Ralph Northam Tries Clarifying Abortion Comments

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam Tries Clarifying Abortion Comments
A baby in a file photo. (Fred Dufour/AFP/Getty Images)
Zachary Stieber
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam tried clarifying his comments during a radio interview in which he seemed to say that killing a baby who had already been born would be fine under a bill that his Democratic colleagues are pushing.

Northam, responding to concerns about a bill that would allow abortion up to the minute that a baby was born, seemed to take things a step further.

“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,” he said in an interview on WTOP on Jan. 30.

“And then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother,” he added.

Current Virginia law allows abortions throughout the third trimester, or up until the birth, but requires three doctors to certify that the woman’s health would be “substantially and irremediably” impaired if the abortion was not done.

The bill in question, the Repeal Act, would only require one doctor to certify the pregnancy would “impair the mental or physical health of the women” and would delete the words “substantially and irremediably” from the line referring to the requirement for a woman to get an abortion so late.

A video clip of Northam’s comments provoked widespread outrage on social media websites.

“To sum things up... @GovernorVA thinks it’s okay to kill a baby once it’s fully delivered. Disgusting,” said Caleb Hull, a conservative strategist, on Twitter.
“We need a national divorce. I have no desire to share a nation with people who hold the same values of human life as the Japanese soldiers in Nanking,” added Jesse Kelly, a conservative radio host, on Twitter.
“Governor Northam is a ’moderate' Democrat, we were told. So we are apparently reaching the point where the moderate squishes of the Democrat Party advocate for the summary execution of newborns. What will the radicals support in that case? Carpet bombing daycare centers?” said Matt Walsh, a Daily Wire writer, on Twitter.

In a statement from Northam’s office later on Wednesday, he claimed that “Republicans in Virginia and across the country are trying to play politics with women’s health.”

But he seemed to confirm that killing babies after birth would be fine in some circumstances.

“No woman seeks a third-trimester abortion except in the case of tragic or difficult circumstances, such as a nonviable pregnancy or in the event of severe fetal abnormalities, and the governor’s comments were limited to the actions physicians would take in the event that a woman in those circumstances went into labor,” the statement read.

Hull was among those reacting to the statement, noting that none of Northam’s comments were taken out of context.

“He wants to change the definition of ‘health of the mother’ to mean (broad) mental health, so if an abortionist decided the mother’s mental health may be impacted, they can get a 40-week abortion,” Hull wrote on Twitter.

“Also worth noting: @GovernorVA’s statement admits he is discussing babies with abnormalities NOT just non-viable infants like many of the critics of this thread have claimed he was referring to. So @GovernorVA has no problem killing *born* babies with abnormalities.”