Is VA Gov. Northam misleading public on details of extreme abortion bill?

second trimester, abortion, premature

On Wednesday during a local radio show, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam shared his support for the controversial Repeal Act, which would have legalized abortion up until birth. However, his statements caused social media chaos when he misled listeners about what is in the expansive bill, which failed to make it out of the subcommittee on Tuesday.

During the ‘Meet the Governor’ radio show, Northam was asked whether or not he supports the bill, which he does. However, he was also asked to “explain” Virginia state delegate Kathy Tran’s statement that the bill would allow for abortion even up to the point when a woman is in labor with a full-term child (seen in the video below).


READ: How third trimester abortion works: The Induction Method

Northam stated that abortion decisions must be left up to the doctors and mothers. It was what he said next, however, that caused confusion and had some claiming he was advocating for killing a child after birth.

The governor’s full comments were:

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 – and it’s done in cases where there may be severe deformities. There may be a fetus that’s nonviable. So in this particular example, if the 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 physician and the mother.

But what Northam describes here — a terminally ill baby delivered alive and given proper medical care — is not what occurs during a third trimester abortion. The way Gov. Northam answered this question was as if the preborn child was never injected with poison and killed during the abortion. His description of an infant being born alive and given care is what happens during a natural birth and a child dying from natural causes — not from the tools of an abortionist. A third trimester abortion takes three or four days to complete, and involves injecting the baby with poison so his heart stops, then delivering a stillborn child.


Children who receive a terminal prenatal diagnosis should be allowed to be born and die naturally, on their own time.

This is not an abortion and this is not what The Repeal Act called for.

Northam convoluted the issue at hand, which is that The Repeal Act would have allowed for a woman to request a late-term abortion even after labor begins, as Tran had admitted. The Act would have allowed a preborn baby to be killed moments before he would have been born, likely through a lethal injection to the heart. Whether or not the baby had been deemed viable wouldn’t matter. The Repeal Act would have ensured that a last-minute abortion could have been committed on any child — even a viable baby — because of the mother’s health. And because of the Supreme Court case Doe v. Bolton, “health” can include even emotional and familial health.

However, the bill also clearly states that “measures for life support for the product of abortion or miscarriage [the baby] shall be available and utilized if there is any clearly visible evidence of viability.” If Northam supports the bill as he says he does, then he should support helping babies who survive abortions.

In addition to misrepresenting what happens during an abortion, Northam misleads when he states that “more than one physician” agrees that the abortion is necessary. That is the current law. The bill he is discussing and has supported would have eliminated this rule.

Virginia’s Repeal Act screenshot

Gov. Northam’s office released a statement after the interview in response to the backlash he received. He claimed that “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.” This claim is inaccurate.


Most late-term abortions are, in fact, not committed on babies who are at risk of dying at birth. According to a 2013 study from pro-abortion researchers Diana Greene Foster and Katrina Kimport, “data suggests that most women seeking later terminations are not doing so for reasons of fetal anomaly or life endangerment.” (emphasis added)

In 2016, a former abortion worker named Margot told former Planned Parenthood manager turned pro-life activist Abby Johnson that late-term abortions were “almost never” committed on preborn children with a fetal diagnosis. “I would say that the highest profile of women that were having the late-term abortions were completely normal pregnancies, quite often young, and sometimes had just had more fear of having to tell someone they were pregnant…,” she said. “Overwhelmingly, the late-term procedures that we did were not for fetal anomalies.”

Late abortionist George Tiller, a late-term abortionist, admitted in 1995 that he had “about 10,000 patients between 24 and 36 weeks and something like 800 fetal anomalies between 26 and 36 weeks in the past 5 years.” That’s eight percent for reasons of fetal anomalies. Tiller’s former staff member, Luhra Tivis, claimed that she personally “witnessed evidence of the brutal, cold blooded murder of over 600 viable, healthy babies at seven, eight and nine months’ gestation. A very, very few of these babies, less than 2%, were handicapped.”

READ: Nashville OB/GYN: There is no reason to kill third trimester preborn babies

Any woman facing an emergency medical situation during the third trimester would have a better chance at saving her health and life if an emergency C-section were performed rather than an abortion. An emergency C-section takes minutes, while a late-term abortion takes two to three days. And let’s be clear: the abortion would only be committed with the direct intent to kill the child, not to save the mother.

As for “severe fetal abnormalities,” Northam is not speaking of abortion. If a woman went into labor to deliver a yet-living child who was not expected to survive, that is called a live birth, and the child’s death would occur naturally as a result of the his or her health condition. The Repeal Act called for the legal right to kill that baby up until just moments before birth.

Although the bill in question has been tabled and will not leave the subcommittee, it is important for Virginians and all Americans to understand what is truly at stake. The bill could be taken up next session if pro-choice Democrats gain enough seats in the Statehouse after the fall election, and similar bills are being introduced in states across the country.

Editor’s Note: Read more about children who survived abortions and were left to die.

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