Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam pushed back against the backlash over his comments on an abortion bill that many said was promoting “infanticide.”
The Democrat’s efforts at self-defense as he tried to flip the script were not well-received late Wednesday after he sparked an outcry with his comments on The Repeal Act, which aims at pulling back some of the restrictions on third-trimester abortions.
Northam, a former pediatric neurologist, spoke about the controversial abortion bill, which was sponsored by Virginia Democrat Del. Kathy Tran, in an appearance on WTOP on Wednesday where he said that third-trimester abortions are done with “the consent of obviously the mother, with consent of the physician, multiple physicians by the way, and it’s done in cases where there may be severe deformities or there may be a fetus that’s not viable.”
“So in this particular example if a mother is in labor,” he continued, “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.”
Northam came under fire for his remarks as he was blasted for suggesting letting a newborn die. Nebraska Republican Sen. Ben Sasse called the comments “morally repugnant” and other conservatives joined in the condemnation.
I never thought I would see the day America had government officials who openly support legal infanticide. https://t.co/VzM4FPO7QT
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) January 30, 2019
This is horrific.
Dem Gov. Ralph Northam, a pediatrician himself, is defending born-alive abortions:
“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.”pic.twitter.com/3AxXlBhImQ
— Ronna McDaniel (@GOPChairwoman) January 30, 2019
VA Gov Northam is no moderate, this is one of the most vile, radical pro-abortion positions ever put forward. This is evil. He should recant or resign. https://t.co/Npxa4c5JdI
— Jim DeMint (@JimDeMint) January 30, 2019
In an Oval Office interview with The Daily Caller on Wednesday, President Trump admitted he was “surprised” at the governor’s words though noted he had not heard the interview personally.
“I’m surprised that he did that, I’ve met him a number of times,” Trump said.
“I thought it was terrible,” he added, speaking specifically on video of Tran supporting the bill, which he did see. “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.”
Northam came to his own defense Wednesday evening in a defiant tweet.
“I have devoted my life to caring for children and any insinuation otherwise is shameful and disgusting,” he said.
I have devoted my life to caring for children and any insinuation otherwise is shameful and disgusting.
— Ralph Northam (@GovernorVA) January 31, 2019
Northam’s communications director also issued a statement, accusing Republicans of “trying to play politics with women’s health.”
Statement from Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) spokesman Ofirah Yheskel on his abortion remarks:
“The governor’s comments were limited to the actions physicians would take in the event that a woman [facing nonviable pregnancy or severe fetal abnormalities] went into labor.” pic.twitter.com/7FHeRbkobF
— Aaron Blake (@AaronBlake) January 30, 2019
“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,” Ofirah Yheskel said in the statement. “Attempts to extrapolate these comments otherwise is in bad faith and underscores exactly why the governor believes physicians and women, not legislators, should make these difficult and deeply personal medical decisions.”
The Virginia bill, which was tabled in committee this week according to Fox News, followed similar legislation seeking to loosen abortion restrictions in New Mexico, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Virginia, and Washington. A new bill signed into law last week by New York’s Gov. Andrew Cuomo and celebrated by Democrats allows non-doctors to perform abortions and allows the procedure to be done up to the birth of the baby.
While Northam did find some support on social media from those who advocate the killing of babies to those who argued that his remarks were misconstrued, many more continued to blast the Democratic governor even after he fired back at those trying to condemn him.
You just endorsed the murder of newborn babies. We all heard exactly what you said. How dare you pretend to be a victim here, when the real victims are the babies you said you would leave to die on the table. https://t.co/b45lsCY0kL
— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) January 31, 2019
I wouldn’t want you anywhere near my child.
— Tom Beau Culpepper (@TomCulpepper1) January 31, 2019
He’s a defenseless pouncing victim, the poor dear.
— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) January 31, 2019
I’m shocked people are liking this viewpoint. As a nurse there is no way in hell I would assist a physician delivering a child with the intent to kill. #DONOHARM!
— Tina Holmes (@TinaHol27450287) January 31, 2019
Hey @GovernorVA, please tell us what anti-abortion legislature you have personally pushed in order to “protect” children? No, you and the Democratic Party are a party of death…BABY DEATH at that! There is a special place in hell reserved for all of you.
— Mike D (@huskerinkc1978) January 31, 2019
But it’s the wall that’s immoral.
— Dreg of Society 🇺🇲 (@MildlyJoel) January 31, 2019
100!!! If he misspoke or “didn’t understand the question,..” that’s one thing but we all heard it. I listened to it three times before really believing that is what he said. He has some nerve!
— Megan Medo (@MeganMedo) January 31, 2019
We aren’t insinuating, @GovernorVA. We are watching you express yourself clearly on video. What you support is shameful and disgusting.
— Nick Searcy, INTERNATIONAL FILM & TELEVISION STAR (@yesnicksearcy) January 31, 2019
Guess who refutes Gov. Northam’s claims about “tragic” circumstances of most/all late abortions? Pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute. pic.twitter.com/hj6DFa5sK7
— Ed Whelan (@EdWhelan123) January 30, 2019
Nope not buying it. Only saying that after the backlash.
— Robin Winslow (@travelingrobin) January 31, 2019
It’s not a conventional “abortion” if the baby is already dead. No woman I know that‘s happened to would refer to it that way, as it implies choice. There is also no circumstance that a live baby would need to be killed late term to save the mother. Delivery yes. Abortion never.
— Mindy Robinson 🇺🇸 (@iheartmindy) January 30, 2019
This passionate rush to be allowed to kill your children sure makes “toxic masculinity” look benign compared to the new literally “toxic femininity”. #4thTermAbortion
— #DeplorableMe (@JCinQC) January 31, 2019
Virginia is better than this!
— Jamie T (@sgt0431) January 31, 2019
America is better than this!
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