Virginia governor Ralph Northam on Thursday stood by his prior defense of late-term-abortion legislation pending in the Virginia state legislature, telling reporters that he doesn’t regret the comments.
“I’m a physician. I’m also the governor. But when I’m asked questions, a lot of times it is put in the context of being a physician — realizing how we approach, how we manage patients, how we offer advice and counseling,” he said at a press conference. “So, no, I don’t have any regrets.”
Asked Wednesday about Democratic Virginia delegate Kathy Tran’s admission that her bill would allow for abortions to be performed up until the point of birth, Northam defended the legislation and suggested that women should be able to determine whether their born-alive infant should receive life-saving care.
“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,” Northam said during an interview on WTOP radio.
Northam’s comments provoked a backlash from conservative lawmakers, including Senators Marco Rubio of Florida and Ben Sasse of Nebraska, who accused him of defending infanticide.
“Everyone in the Senate ought to be able to say unequivocally that killing that little baby is wrong,” Sasse said on the Senate floor Thursday while introducing the Born Alive Protection Act, which would penalize doctors who fail to provide life-saving care to infants delivered after botched abortion procedures. “This doesn’t take any political courage. And, if you can’t say that, if there’s a member of this body that can’t say that, there may be lots of work you can do in the world but you shouldn’t be here. . . . There should be no politics here that are Right vs. Left, or Republican vs. Democrat.”
In his comments Thursday, Northam accused his critics of misrepresenting his position and abandoning civility to advance a political agenda.
“I regret that those comments have been mischaracterized,” he said.“The personal insults toward me, I really find disgusting. Again, as I said in my comments just earlier, we can agree to disagree, but let’s be civil.”