Virginia Is Ground Zero for Abortion Politics in 2020: Will Pro-Abortion Politicians Overreach?
Abortion politics in Virginia made national news last January when state Rep. Kathy Tran proposed a bill allowing abortion up until birth and even during labor. Thankfully her efforts failed at that time, and the legislature decided to uphold life. But the same bill is likely to resurface now that pro-abortion politicians control the Virginia state legislature and governor’s mansion.
Rep. Tran’s “birthday abortion bill” contained several extreme provisions. Among them are allowing abortion in the last three months of pregnancy and the elimination of informed-consent and clinic-safety requirements. Late-term abortions could, under Tran’s bill, be performed in outpatient clinics, and pro-life measures such as ultrasound requirements and Virginia’s waiting period would be eliminated.
When asked about Tran’s proposal, Gov. Ralph Northam said he supported the bill and that in the case of a failed abortion, "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." Gov. Northam’s comments sounded like an endorsement of infanticide, and many condemned them.
While most of America was horrified by their cold disregard for developing human life, Rep. Tran and Gov. Northam won the loyal support of the pro-abortion lobby. Both Rep. Tran and Gov. Northam received money from pro-abortion groups like Planned Parenthood and Emily’s List. These groups believe in a woman's right to an abortion in virtually any circumstance and generously fund pro-abortion politicians, like Tran and Northam.
In fact, Emily’s List and Planned Parenthood VA were among top donors in the 2019 Virginia elections, dumping millions into state races. These groups saw an opening to elect a legislature that would advance their agenda. Come January, politicians backed by the abortion lobby will be in position to pass Tran’s “birthday abortion bill” and similar measures.
But passing such a bill would constitute a massive overreach by radical politicians and, if history is any indicator, will generate considerable backlash – perhaps even on a national scale.
Think of what happened after New York’s Reproductive Health Act passed, a bill also allowing abortion up until birth and paid for by tax dollars. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who signed the extreme law in January, celebrated the occasion by ordering city workers to light up in pink area landmarks, including One World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan.
[The rebuilt trade center commemorates the 2,753 men, women and children murdered on that solemn ground during the terror attacks of 9/11. That Gov. Cuomo would celebrate the death of anyone, and at the very site that evokes painful memories of immeasurable loss, is a national disgrace.]
But a Marist poll taken right after the incident revealed a sudden, substantial shift away from the “pro-choice” position, indicating New York politicians’ severe overreach. Because of this double-digit shift, Americans were as likely to identify as pro-life (47 percent) as pro-choice (47 percent). The director of the Marist poll commented, “The recent legal changes to late-term abortion and the debate which followed have not gone unnoticed by the general public.”
That’s not really a surprise to anyone paying attention. Marist has been tracking what Americans think about abortion for eleven straight years and each year they find that large majorities strongly object to late-term abortion. This year’s Marist Poll on American attitudes toward abortion found three in four believe abortion should be limited to, at most, the first three months of a woman’s pregnancy.
Will pro-abortion politicians in Virginia overreach? Probably. But they can expect pro-life Virginians to make their voices heard and the rest of pro-life America to be watching -- just like they were watching New York. Because in the end, most Americans don’t want to see Virginia, or the nation in 2020, go the way of New York.