[guest post by Dana]
The fallout from the Virginia abortion bill introduced by delegate Kathy Tran, and commented on by Gov. Northam, continues.
On Monday, Tran admitted that she was indeed changing the standards with her abortion bill.
On Thursday, Tran said otherwise:
Democrat Kathy Tran: "women are able to access an abortion in the later stages of pregnancy…I've done nothing to change that"
Question: "For an abortion at any point in the 3rd trimester, you're changing the standard?"
Tran: "I'm changing the standard, yes." pic.twitter.com/JHGaqscTCk
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) January 31, 2019
David French, who read the actual text of the bill, noted how the bill’s passage would have changed current law:
The bill reduces the number of doctors required to certify the alleged medical need for an abortion from three to one, and — critically — eliminates any required showing of severity before the doctor and mother can determine that the birth would impair her physical or mental health. Under the bill’s actual text, virtually any claim of impairment would suffice to meet the act’s requirements. Anxiety? Depression? The conventional physical challenges of post-partum recovery? Any of those things could justify taking the life of a fully formed, completely viable, living infant.
Yesterday Tran said that she “misspoke” when said her bill would allow third-trimester abortions for mental health reasons up to the point of birth:
“I wish that I was quicker on my feet and I wish that I was able to be more agile in that moment,” Tran, 41, a first-term Democrat from Fairfax County, said in an interview. “And I misspoke, and I really regret that.”
(In re-watching the original exchange between Tran and Todd Gilbert, Tran appears to me as being thoughtful, careful, and very deliberate when answering his questions…)
“I regret that those comments have been mischaracterized,” Northam said. “The personal insults toward me I really find disgusting.”
Oh, and something funny happened when Henry Rodgers, a reporter on Capitol Hill, approached 10 Democratic senators for reaction to the governor’s comments. What are the odds that every single one of them denied knowing anything about a huge news story taking place in a battleground state? Apparently, because they all live under a rock, the odds are much better than one would think. I’m going to publish the whole thread because it’s worth reading:
I just spoke with over 10 Democratic Senators in the past 2 hours. Not one of them would acknowledge @GovernorVA’s comments on late-term abortion. Everyone of them denied ever hearing them.
Sen. Widen on @GovernorVA’s late-term abortion comments:
“I haven’t haven’t seen them.”
Me: “It was about late-term abortion.”
He walked away…
Sen. Manchin on @GovernorVA’s late-term abortion comments:
“I haven’t seen anything. I’ve been in retreats. Obviously I just got out of a meeting.”
Sen. Markey on @GovernorVA’s late-term abortion comments:
“I don’t know what he said. I don’t know what he said.”
Sen. Leahy on @GovernorVA’s late-term abortion comments:
“I have no idea what he said. I have no idea what happened there. I do follow the Governor of Vermont though, all the time.”
Sen. Reed on @GovernorVA’s late-term abortion comments:
“I know what it is about. I have not listened.”
Me: So no comment?
Sen. Menendez on @GovernorVA’s late-term abortion comments:
Claims he has not heard them.
“No,” he said in response to my question.
Capitol subway door then closed.
Sen. Coons on @GovernorVA’s late-term abortion comments:
“I’m literally mid sentence talking to staff about the vote I have to take right now. Happy to talk to you soon.”
Me: So you haven’t heard them?
Coons: “I’ve been in a caucus retreat for two days.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders on @GovernorVA’s late-term abortion comments:
Staffer: “He doesn’t have time for this right now.”
Me: We have plenty of time on this escalator right now.
Sanders & his staffer walk into elevator…
Sen. Chris Murphy on @GovernorVA’s late-term abortion comments:
Denied hearing comments.
“I mean I’m pro-choice. I support Connecticut’s laws regarding choice. Connecticut is not talking about changing it’s laws.”
Wouldn’t say if he supported abortion up till the 9th month.
Sen. Van Hollen on @GovernorVA’s late-term abortion comments:
“I have not heard them actually. I have not.”
Me: Ok. You can’t say if you support late-term abortion or not?
Van Hollen: “I support Roe v. Wade. Ok. That’s the holding that I support.”
Finally, though, something good has come out of this dark two week period where U.S. politicians openly supported and cheered on the removal of protections for unborn babies to the point of birth: Senator Ben Sasse (R., Neb.) announced he is fast-tracking his Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act:
Sasse announced on Thursday that he is beginning the Rule 14 process, which would bring the bill directly to the Senate floor and bypass the normal committee consideration of a piece of legislation. He said that he hopes his bill will be passed by a unanimous voice vote.
“On Monday evening, I’m going to be asking unanimous consent–for senators to come to the floor,” he said. “I’m going to ask all 100 senators to come to the floor and be against infanticide. This shouldn’t be complicated.”
“Let’s really be clear about what we’re talking about here. We’re talking about fourth-trimester abortion, or what anyone in the normal world calls ‘infanticide,’” said Sasse, in reference to Northam’s comments.
“This should be so far beyond any political consideration,” he said. “We’re talking about a tiny life that has done nothing wrong to warrant being left to die, cold and alone on a table.”
Sasse stressed that all of his colleagues should be able to say that killing a newborn baby is wrong, and that “this doesn’t take any political courage.”
“But if there is a member of this body that can’t say that, there may be lots of work that you can do in the world, but you shouldn’t be here. You should get the heck out of any calling in public life where you pretend to care about the most vulnerable among us.
More on the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act:
The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Act would penalize doctors and medical professionals who do not provide medical care to infants who survive abortions. The bill is co-sponsored by more than three dozen Republican senators.
The House version of the bill was introduced by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), and has 131 co-sponsors, including one Democrat, Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL).
Although Sasse emphasized that a voice vote should not be complicated, there is a significant chance the bill will run into opposition. When the House of Representatives voted on their version of the bill in January 2018, all but five Democrats voted against it.
(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)