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Her Abortion Bill Failed, but Her Comments Spurred Outrage

Failed legislation on late-term procedures in Virginia becomes national political issue
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 31, 2019 8:08 AM CST

(Newser) – A bill in Virginia that would have lifted restrictions on late-term abortions has failed, but the controversy and political fallout over the legislation is only growing. One Democratic lawmaker has taken the unusual step of apologizing for co-sponsoring the bill, saying she wasn't aware of all its details. Meanwhile, President Trump has entered the fray to criticize the state's Democratic governor, Ralph Northam, over the measure. And video of the bill's author being questioned about the details—and acknowledging that it would permit abortions up until the moments before birth—is making the rounds. Details:

  • The bill: It would have made it easier for women whose health was in danger to get third-trimester abortions, reports the AP. For example, the number of doctors required to certify the need would have dropped from three to one.
  • The video: The legislation is from Democratic state lawmaker Kathy Tran, and in this video, Republican Todd Gilbert questions her about its details. He offers a hypothetical about a woman in labor "dilating" and requesting an abortion under Tran's bill. "I'm asking if your bill allows that," he says when Tran begins explaining the decision process between doctor and patient. "My bill would allow that, yes." The state GOP party has been sending the video out in fundraising emails, reports the Washington Post.

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  • The governor: In an interview with WTOP, Gov. Northam said Republicans were taking Tran's comments out of context. But his own comments about late-term abortions are now under fire. These are "done in cases where there may be severe deformities," said Northam, a pediatrician. "There may be a fetus that’s non-viable. So in this particular example, if a mother’s 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 mother."
  • Rubio, Trump: Rubio tweeted that Northam's comments described "legal infanticide." Trump told the Daily Caller: “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." Trump added, "This is going to lift up the whole pro-life movement like maybe it’s never been lifted up before."
  • Apology: Democratic lawmaker Dawn Adams has apologized to constituents for co-sponsoring the legislation, noting, "I did not read [the] bill," reports the Richmond Times-Dispatch. She said she thought it only lifted "onerous" abortion restrictions. "While it did, it sought to do much more," Adams wrote. "Had I researched each line of removed language, I would have seen that, and known that there was more research to be done."
  • New York: The bill in Virginia comes after New York state just made it easier to get late-term abortions. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said it's part of a pushback against a White House "that wants to roll back Roe v. Wade," per Fox News. Some Catholic leaders, meanwhile, are calling for Cuomo to be excommunicated from the church over the legislation.
(Read more Virginia stories.)

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