President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence are blasting the Democratic Party for its support of late-term abortion amid a national outcry over statements in support of a proposed Virginia late-term abortion bill.
"Democrats are becoming the Party of late-term abortion, high taxes, Open Borders and Crime!" the president tweeted Thursday morning.
His words come on the heels of Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, a Democrat, who in a WTOP radio interview Wednesday defended a proposed bill from state delegate Kathy Tran, also a Democrat, that would have allowed abortions to be performed until the moment of birth.
In video footage of a discussion among legislators that rocketed around the Internet earlier this week, Virginia House of Delegates majority leader Todd Gilbert, a Republican, asked Tran if a woman could ask for an abortion as she was going into labor, delivering a full-term baby. To the horror of many, Tran responded that such a request would be allowed under her bill.
“I thought it was terrible,” Trump said of Tran’s statements in an interview with the Daily Caller Wednesday.
“Do you remember when I said Hillary Clinton was willing to rip the baby out of the womb? That’s what it is, that’s what they’re doing, it’s terrible,” he added, referencing his words in the third presidential debate prior to the 2016 election.
Gilbert's office said Wednesday that the bill will not move out of subcommittee and no action will be taken on it.
Responding to the fallout, Northam said that when speaking about third-trimester abortions, "these are done with the consent of obviously the mother, with the consent of the physician — 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 non-viable.”
“If a mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen,” the Virginia governor said. “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.”
Like the video of Tran's admission that her legislation permitted abortion until moments before birth, Northam's comments went viral as conservative and pro-life advocates accused him of promoting a form of infanticide.
"I have devoted my life to caring for children and any insinuation otherwise is shameful and disgusting," Northam, who is trained as a pediatrician, said Wednesday, responding to the fallout.
Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring stated Wednesday that President Trump and Virginia Republicans were "trying to spread shameful lies" about Tran and the governor.
Pro-life legislators and advocates around the world were not moved, given the video tape of his comments and many were quoting him verbatim.
"What’s shameful is that you’re too cowardly to say point blank that it’s wrong to leave babies to die after birth," said U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Nebraska, in a statement Thursday.
"You could have said that yesterday. But because you're terrified of an extremist pro-abortion lobby that now defends even infanticide, you're still ducking."
Pro-life senators Marco Rubio, R-Florida, Marsha Blackburn, R-Tennessee, Josh Hawley, R-Missouri, and Ted Cruz, R-Texas, all decried the Virginia bill.
Nigerian pro-life activist Obianuju Ekeocha, author of Target Africa and founder of Culture of Life Africa, did not withhold her disgust.
"Everyone that voted for this man @GovernorVA should wear sackcloth and remorsefully cover their heads in ashes, they should weep for putting power into the hands of a man that defends infanticide," she said Wednesday, tweeting his radio interview.
In a Thursday National Review opinion piece, Vice President Pence weighed in, noting that the proposed Virginia bill follows similar legislation that was signed into law in New York, something that was celebrated with cheers in the state Senate chamber in Albany and illuminated pink lights atop One World Trade Center in New York City and other landmarks.
"[A]t the base of the same One World Trade Center that was bathed in pink last week to mark the passage of New York’s law, is the September 11th memorial," Pence noted Thursday. "There, the names of all who died in the horrific terrorist attacks 18 years ago are etched in stone — including the eleven unborn children we lost along with their expectant mothers."
"This shameless embrace of a culture of death is startling to every American who cherishes life. Not too long ago, the Democratic party’s stated position was that abortion should be 'safe, legal, and rare.' It was this widespread rejection of late-term abortion that led a large bipartisan majority in Congress to pass the partial-birth-abortion ban in 2003. But now look at how far the Democratic party has fallen."
The pushback to the Virginia bill led one Democratic lawmaker to withdraw her support for it, saying she had not read the proposed legislation's content closely enough.
“Had I researched each line of removed language, I would have seen that, and known that there was more research to be done. None of this changes that I believe women must have safe legal options for abortion; but I also would have seen the utility of language that provides guidelines for how to ensure this,” wrote state delegate Dawn Adams, a Democrat who represents a suburban district outside Richmond, in a letter to her constituents Wednesday.
“I made a mistake, and all I know to do is to admit it, tell the truth, and let the chips fall where they may.”
Adams is a first-term delegate who won a close victory in 2017 and may face a competitive re-election campaign this year.
The mainstream media, however, framed the events as an unkind attack on Tran.
A Thursday headline in the Washington Post read: "Until this week, Del. Kathy Tran was known for nursing her daughter on the House floor. Now Republicans are calling her a baby killer."
Tran deactivated her Twitter account soon after she was seen on tape talking about her bills allowance for abortions up until birth, but then reactivated it Thursday saying that misinformation had been spread, arguing that her bill does nothing to change the fact that women can request abortions under certain circumstances as long as medical doctors approve it.