One day after he sparked outrage by apparently defending infanticide after a botched abortion, Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam accused Republicans of spreading “misinformation” about his comments and the late-term abortion bill that prompted the discussion.
“We’re here to set the record straight. Virginia Democrats are on the side of ensuring women get the health care they need,” he said, according to CBS News.
He said Republicans were being uncivil in their response to the bill, which would allow abortion up to the point of birth if the mother’s “health” was at risk.” That exception is typically broadly interpreted, meaning a third-trimester abortion could be allowed in virtually any case.
“These comments that have made, the questions that have been asked, are nothing more than political points,” Northam said.
He said the majority-male legislators in the House of Delegates should not interfere in women’s reproductive health choices. New York’s state legislature passed a bill similar to Virginia’s last week that was signed by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Mark Herring, the Democratic attorney general, insisted claims by Republicans that Northam supports infanticide “would be laughable if it wasn’t such a grotesque” idea.
The governor discussed the bill Wednesday in an interview with WTOP radio in Washington.
“When we talk about third-trimester abortions, these are done with the consent of obviously the mother, with the consent of the physicians, more than one physician, by the way,” Northam said.
“And it’s done in cases where there may be severe deformities, there may be a fetus that’s 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 mother. So I think this was really blown out of proportion.”
Trump: ‘Terrible’ comments
President Trump said in an interview with the Daily Caller that Northam’s comments were “terrible” and would “lift up the whole pro-life movement like maybe it’s never been lifted up before.”
Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel tweeted, “This is horrific.”
The Republican Party of Virginia said Thursday that Northam’s short press conference that went nowhere and said nothing,” charging him with attempting “to pull the wool over Virginia’s eyes.”
“Northam didn’t talk about the horrendous interview he did yesterday, but rather went out of his way to say that it was the fault of Republicans that his unedited, on-camera words were interpreted the way they were,” the party statement said.
“Governor Northam’s press conference was a disaster,” said RPV Chairman Jack Wilson. “He only took three questions and still dodged every single one of them. Ralph Northam needs to own up to his abhorrent comments and stop gas-lighting the women of Virginia.”
With Republicans holding a narrow majority in Virginia’s House of Delegates, the bill is unlikely to pass soon. In a 5-3 vote Monday, a subcommittee tabled it.