Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D.) said on Sunday that he doesn't support a proposed state abortion law that would loosen restrictions on third-trimester abortions.
"Do you support this new legislation, and what was your reaction to the [Gov. Ralph Northam's] comments there?" CNN's "State of the Union" host Jake Tapper asked.
"Absolutely not. And I think Ralph misspoke on that," McAuliffe said of comments from the current Virginia governor. "No Democrat I know is for infanticide. None."
The debate about third-term abortions took center stage after a Democratic lawmaker in the Virginia House of Delegates proposed a bill that would pull back restrictions on abortions obtained through the end of the third trimester of pregnancy. Video of Delegate Kathy Tran presenting her bill on Tuesday showed an exchange where she admitted her bill would allow for a mother to abort her child minutes before giving birth. Tran's comments went viral and during an interview the next day, Northam was asked if he supported the measure.
"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. 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," Northam said, alluding to the physician and mother discussing whether the born infant should live or die.
Northam didn't directly answer in the interview if he supported the legislation, but he suggested he did, except for a provision that would reduce the number of physicians that needed to be consulted before performing the abortion.
McAuliffe defended Northam's record on abortion and said the two worked to remove regulations that resulted in the closure of Planned Parenthood clinics across the state.
"Ralph was at my side when I ran for governor five years ago, and it was the Republicans who were changing all the regulations to make clinics, Planned Parenthood clinics, put in more to shut all our clinics down. I am proud I replaced the board of health and we got rid of all of those horrible regulations to shut own Planned Parenthood clinics down," McAuliffe said. "Where we come from, it's — life of the mother in the last trimester, but I do not support that legislation, nor does Ralph, and I just think, you know, he was speaking as a doctor. And what he was trying to say, I'll be honest, was not who he is."
Earlier in the interview, McAuliffe said Northam should step down as governor over a photo that shows a man in a Ku Klux Klan hood next to a man wearing blackface. The photo was included on a medical school yearbook paged dedicated to Northam. The governor denies he's one of the individuals in the picture.