If the national conversation on abortion is changing, Democrats aren’t listening.
Days after Governor Ralph Northam grudgingly signed a new restriction the use of state funding for abortion into law, Virginia Democrats show no sign of backing off from their controversial support for late term abortion.
Vice President Mike Pence tweeted his opposition to Northam’s support for late term abortion, drawing a sharp rebuke — and promise of action — from freshman Del. Ibraheem Semirah, D-Farifax.
“Leave our Commonwealth out of your propaganda. The way your administration has demonized and vilified women seeking reproductive care is nothing short of incitement,” he wrote. “When we win the majority in November, we will solidify the constitutional right to abortion.”
Democrats, especially those in Virginia, have been at the center of a newly-energized national debate over abortion.
In January, Del. Kathy Tran, D-Farifax, presented a bill to ease restriction on abortion in Virginia, but was caught flatfooted when asked about the impact of her bill.
Majority Leader Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah, asked Tran whether her bill would permit abortions to be performed while a mother was in labor.
“My bill would allow that, yes,” she said, sparking a firestorm of controversy that only got worse the next day.
Democratic Governor Ralph Northam attempted to defend Tran during an appearance on WTOP’s “Ask the Governor,” only to pour gasoline onto the rhetorical fire.
“[Late term abortions are] done in cases where there may be severe deformities. There may be a fetus that’s nonviable. So in this particular example, if a mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen,” Northam said.
“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. “And then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother.”
His remarks sparked a national outcry, with everyone from his fellow Democrats to President Trump criticizing them. His comments so outraged a former medical school classmate that they leaked Northam’s now infamous yearbook photos to the press.
Polling done shortly after Northam’s comments found that 68 percent of those who describe themselves as pro-choice oppose abortion on the day before birth, and 66 percent oppose abortion in the third trimester of pregnancy.
Those numbers don’t seem to bother Democrats.
Virginia House Minority Leader Del. Eileen Filler-Corn told the House of Delegates last month that Democrats intend to include their support for the Tran bill in the case they make to voters this election cycle.
More recently, Democratic Alabama state Rep. John Rogers said on the floor of the chamber that abortion was only killing children who would otherwise be killed at a later date.
“Some kids are unwanted, so you kill them now or you kill them later,” he said. “You bring them in the world unwanted, unloved, you send them to the electric chair. So, you kill them now or you kill them later.”
The challenge of a disabled child simply may be too much unless mothers are allowed to have an abortion, he added.
“Some parents can’t handle a child with problems,” he said. “It could be retarded. It might have no arms and no legs.”
“They get in trouble, and we electrocute them,” he said. “Whether you kill them early, or kill them later, doesn’t matter.”