Former Virginia governor and potential 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Terry McAuliffe reversed his stance on a controversial Virginia abortion bill on Monday, calling Rep. Kathy Tran’s expansive abortion bill — which she admitted would have allowed abortion up to birth — “common sense” during an interview on the John Fredericks Show.
McAuliffe, a former DNC chair, is extreme on abortion. As governor, he refused to investigate Planned Parenthood when caught trafficking aborted baby parts. He described himself as “a brick wall” against threats to abortion, and has even insisted that abortion facilities with questionable medical standards stay open despite risking women’s health. When Virginia voted to defund Planned Parenthood in the state, McAuliffe vetoed it.
In February, Virginia Delegate Tran’s bill intended to lift almost all abortion restrictions. When asked in committee if her bill would allow for abortion when a woman is dilating and about to give birth, Tran said it would. Seeming to expand on that, current VA Governor Ralph Northam said, “If a mother is in labor… 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.”
But on Monday, when McAuliffe was asked whether he would have vetoed Tran’s bill, he dodged, instead oddly claiming it wasn’t about expanding abortion, but about reducing the number of doctors (from three to one) required to approve third trimester abortions.
“Virginia law currently requires that before a woman can end a third-trimester pregnancy, she must get three separate doctors to evaluate the pregnancy,” he stated. “The bill would have changed the number from three doctors to one. … If you’re in a rural county, it’s very hard to get three doctors.” He later added, “This was a common-sense bill that, in the sense you go from three to one to help people in rural communities…. unfortunately [it] became political.” When pressed on the question as to whether he, as governor, would have vetoed the bill, McAuliffe said, “I would not have vetoed that bill.”
But back in February, McAuliffe had a completely different response to Governor Northam’s words. When asked by CNN’s Jake Tapper at that time if he supported Tran’s bill, McAuliffe responded, “Absolutely not. And I think Ralph misspoke on that. No Democrat I know is for infanticide. None.” But when speaking on Monday, he backpedaled, claiming that Tran also misspoke, and that the bill wasn’t about expanding abortion access after all. “I think Kathy Tran, when she was asked the question about the woman in dilation, the answer is no. Not yes, it’s no, and she just misspoke.” Here’s the text of that bill. It clearly removes restrictions on abortion, even in the third trimester; therefore, it expands abortion:
Eliminates the requirement that an abortion in the second trimester of pregnancy and prior to the third trimester be performed in a hospital…. [E]liminates all the procedures and processes, including the performance of an ultrasound, required to effect a woman’s informed written consent to the performance of an abortion; however, the bill does not change the requirement that a woman’s informed written consent be first obtained…. [E]liminates the requirement that two other physicians certify that a third trimester abortion is necessary to prevent the woman’s death or impairment of her mental or physical health, as well as the need to find that any such impairment to the woman’s health would be substantial and irremediable…. [R]emoves language classifying facilities that perform five or more first-trimester abortions per month as hospitals for the purpose of complying with regulations establishing minimum standards for hospitals.
A baby in the third trimester has a good chance of surviving outside the womb. All major organs and systems have been in place since week 11 in the first trimester, and simply require maturation. A c-section can be done in an emergency situation in 30 minutes, while a third-trimester abortion takes multiple days to complete. Although most who argue in favor of third trimester abortions, including Gov. Northam, claim they are necessary for fetal anomalies, a third trimester abortion is actually never medically necessary.
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