Though the proposed bill provides a list of reasons including mental health to seek an abortion, the response of Virginia's Democrat delegate Kathy Tran took everyone by surprise.
Washington, DC: On Wednesday, Virginia's Democrat delegate said a Bill the party has introduced would allow a would-be mother to seek an abortion moments before she is about to deliver, causing an America-wide outrage.
Though the proposed bill provides a list of reasons including mental health to seek an abortion, the response of a very uneasy Democratic Virginia delegate Kathy Tran to the question, “Where it’s obvious a woman is about to give birth...would that be a point at which she could still request an abortion?” took everyone by surprise. Kathy Tran’s response was, “My bill would allow that, yes.”
Heartbreaking... This isn't in New York, this isn't in California, this happened just this week right here in Virginia. @VAHouseDems proposed legislation to provide abortions up to just seconds before that precious child takes their first breath. Watch for yourself. pic.twitter.com/AxgPVyI6kU— VA House GOP (@vahousegop) January 29, 2019
The abortion Bill brings to light the recent event where an Indian woman died after being denied an abortion in Ireland. Many people called for a liberalisation of the abortion law in Ireland. While that is one extreme, the Virginia Democrat’s proposal did not seem to pose a limit on when an abortion can take place.
A report by Fox News quoted Republican governor Matt Bevin saying that this was a sad commentary on the culture of death that continues to creep insidiously into the laws of the country.
The Repeal Act seeks to remove the restrictions that are in place for late-term abortions. The provisions for abortions in a third trimester, which ends with the 40th week of pregnancy, as of now would require two other physicians to certify that the abortion is necessary to prevent the woman’s death or impairment of her physical or mental health.
The Repeal Act enjoys the support of some Virginian Democrats, including Gov Ralph Northam who spoke on a radio station which sparked another outrage.
Northam is a former paediatric neurologist who said that though he couldn’t speak for Tran who said that in cases of deformities ― or if a foetus is not viable in the third-trimester ― abortions are done with the consent of the mother and multiple physicians. He added that in this particular case, the infant would be delivered and kept comfortable and would be resuscitated if that’s what the family desired following which a discussion would take place between the physician and the mother.
The Republicans inferred from this vague comment that Northam was talking about possibility of infanticide.
This ire caused Northam to clarify in a tweet in which he said, “I have devoted my life to caring for children and any insinuation otherwise is shameful and disgusting."
In a Fox News report, Northam Communications Director Ofirah Yheskel was quoted as saying, "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 foetal 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 labour. Attempts to extrapolate these comments otherwise is in bad faith and underscores exactly why the governor believes physicians and women, not legislators, should make these difficult and deeply personal medical decisions."
The proposal of the Repeal Act follows New York that passed a bill that relaxed restrictions on abortion.
Tran reportedly said that the bill "eliminates medically unnecessary and unduly burdensome requirements that make it difficult for women to access abortions," recognizing that "women have the constitutional right to make healthcare decisions about their own bodies."
The Republican Committee of the Virginia House of Delegates posted on Facebook stating, “Virginia House Democrats proposed legislation to allow abortions up to just seconds before that precious child takes their first breath…Thankfully, our strong conservative majority was able to defeat this Bill.”
The defeat of this Bill in Virginia has not stopped the talk of the proposal which though sought to relax the restrictions of the bill but failed to provide for its own limitations.
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Last Updated Jan 31, 2019, 8:15 PM IST