Northam: 'I Don't Have Any Regrets' About Abortion Comments

January 31, 2019

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D.) on Thursday doubled down on his controversial comments from the prior day regarding a new state bill that would allow abortions through the end of the third trimester of pregnancy.

"I'm a physician. I'm also the governor. But when I'm asked questions, a lot of times it is put in the context of being a physician," he said at a press conference. "Realizing how we approach, how we manage patients, how we offer advice and counseling. So, no, I don't have any regrets."

Northam's defense came two days after Kathy Tran, a Democrat in the Virginia House of Delegates, proposed the abortion bill. While presenting the legislation, Tran admitted that her bill would allow for a mother to abort her child minutes before giving birth.

"Where it's obvious that a woman is about to give birth, she has physical signs that she's about to give birth, would that still be a point at which she could request an abortion if she was so certified?" Majority Leader Todd Gilbert (R.) asked Tran during her presentation. "She's dilating."

Tran said that is a decision for the woman and her doctor to make. Gilbert then asked her to answer specifically whether the bill would permit an abortion right before the infant was born.

"My bill would allow that, yes," Tran said.

During an interview the following day, Northam was asked whether he supports the bill. Northam responded that he believes the issue has been "blown out of proportion" and that abortions during the third trimester are something that should be discussed between the woman and multiple physicians.

Northam went on to explain to reporters what he believes could happen in this particular case.

"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 a discussion about whether the born infant should live or die.

Northam's comments provoked outcry, which the governor addressed at Thursday's press conference.

"I regret that those comments have been mischaracterized," he said. "The personal insults toward me, I really find disgusting. Again, as I said in my comments just earlier, we can agree to disagree, but let's be civil."

Northam has previously supported pro-abortion bills and spoke at an abortion rally at the Virginia state capitol last week.