Va. governor, once accused of supporting infanticide, eases state abortion restrictions

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam. | Photo: Facebook

Virginia Democratic Governor Ralph Northam, who was accused of supporting infanticide in a 2019 interview, has signed a law that eases restrictions on abortion access in the Commonwealth.

Northam signed the Reproductive Health Protection Act into law last Friday, which, among other things, repeals measures mandating an ultrasound and a 24-hour waiting period prior to an abortion.

“No more will legislators in Richmond—most of whom are men—be telling women what they should and should not be doing with their bodies,” said Northam in a statement.

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“The Reproductive Health Protection Act will make women and families safer, and I’m proud to sign it into law.”

Also known as Senate Bill 733 and House Bill 980, the legislation was passed due to the General Assembly recently becoming majority Democrat.

In late January, the state Senate narrowly passed the bill, with a 20-20 tie vote being broken by Democratic Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax.

The Virginia Society for Human Life, a pro-life group, denounced the signing of the bill, calling it “dreadful” and finding it only more tragic that it was signed on Good Friday.

“Now the only information women will receive is what the abortionist is willing to tell her,” stated VSHL President Olivia Gans Turner.

“Abortionists who are making money from the same women for every abortion performed are not likely to share the dangers of abortion or tell women that her child has a beating heart and brain waves.”

Turner added that she believes the Democrat-controlled legislature “has made it very clear that they intend to strip out every rational and protective pro-life law in Virginia.”

Last year, Northam garnered outrage when, in an interview with WTOP, he defended a recently proposed pro-choice legislation and appeared to endorse infanticide in his comments.

When discussing third-trimester abortions, Northam gave the hypothetical example of a mother who gives birth to a baby that has “severe deformities” or is not viable.

“In this particular example, 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,” Northam told WTOP at the time.

“It would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired and then a discussion would ensue between the physician and the mother.”

The governor’s comments generated much outrage from pro-life groups and politicians, including a denunciation from United States Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska on the Senate floor.

“Let's be clear what we're talking about. We're talking about killing a baby that's been born. We're not talking about some euphemism, we're not talking about a clump of cells,” stated Sasse.

“Everyone in the Senate ought to be able to say unequivocally that killing that little baby is wrong. This doesn't take any political courage.”

In response to the outrage over his comments, Northam, a professional pediatrician, took to social media to denounce the claim that he was supporting infanticide.

“I have devoted my life to caring for children and any insinuation otherwise is shameful and disgusting,” tweeted the governor in January 2019.   

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