“Lawmakers in New York cheered with delight upon the passage of legislation that would allow a baby to be ripped from the mother’s womb moments before birth. These are living, feeling, beautiful, babies who will never get the chance to share their love and dreams with the world. And then, we had the case of the governor of Virginia where he stated he would execute a baby after birth.”
The debate over abortion has moved to the forefront in recent weeks as many state legislatures where a majority of residents are in favor of abortion rights are moving to incorporate the Roe v. Wade standards into state law.
Currently, all but seven states have prohibitions on gestational limits, from 20 to 24 weeks, or the point of “viability.” (A woman is considered to have reached full term when she is between 37-42 weeks.) Indeed, only 1.3 percent of abortions — or about 8,500 a year — take place at or after 21 weeks, according to 2014 data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the Guttmacher Institute.
The legislation in New York would not have “allowed a baby to be ripped from the mother’s womb moments before birth.” It states a health care practitioner “may perform an abortion when, according to the practitioner’s reasonable and good faith professional judgment based on the facts of the patient’s case: the patient is within twenty-four weeks from the commencement of pregnancy, or there is an absence of fetal viability, or the abortion is necessary to protect the patient’s life or health.”
The now-tabled bill in Virginia would have reduced the number of doctors required to agree that “the continuation of the pregnancy is likely to result in the death of the woman” or “impair the mental or physical health of the woman” from three to one. It would have also removed the phrase “substantially and irremediably” from the section describing the required conditions for a woman to have an abortion. In other words, continuing pregnancy would no longer have to “substantially and irremediably impair” a woman’s physical or mental health, it would simply need to “impair” it. Lastly, the bill would have removed the 24 hour waiting period. The bill also specifies that measures of life support “shall be available and utilized” if there is evidence of viability.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) was widely criticized for his comments on the bill after he told a radio show, the procedures are “done in cases where there may be severe deformities. There may be a fetus that’s not viable. So in this particular example, if a mother’s 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.” Critics suggested the governor was endorsing infanticide. His office later said the governor was referring to medical treatment, not ending the life of a baby.