A Democratic Virginia state delegate has apologized to her constituents for attaching her name to a bill that dramatically loosened abortion restrictions through the end of the third trimester of pregnancy, saying she didn't read it.
Del. Dawn Adams, who represents Richmond and was first elected in 2017, said she erred in not reading the bill before co-sponsoring it alongside Del. Kathy Tran (D.), Richmond.com reports.
"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," she wrote. "If you follow my newsletter or have written to me to ask about my votes, you know that I do my best to read and research every bill I vote on. But I did not read a bill I agreed to co-patron and that wasn’t smart or typical. I will work harder and be better for it."
The bill, which was defeated, drew national attention after Tran was seen on video defending it against Republican questioning and saying the law would allow abortion right up until before birth, including during labor.
The bill would have loosened regulations in Virginia for a third-trimester abortion by reducing the number of doctors required to certify it from three to one, NBC News reported. It also would remove the words "substantially and irremediably" when referring to the standard of the threat posed to a woman's health, and it would allow abortion if a physician agreed the pregnancy continuing would impair the "mental or physical health" of the mother.
Adams said she only signed onto it because she believed it would repeal "onerous" restrictions passed by Republicans in 2012. She also said she continued to be pro-choice.
"I am sorry that I did not exercise due diligence before this explosion of attention," she wrote.
The bill drew even more controversy on Wednesday when Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D.) spoke in a radio interview of a scenario where an infant could be delivered and then physicians and the mother would have a "discussion," suggesting it could be euthanized after being born alive.
"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.
After outrage erupted over his remarks, with some observers saying Northam was describing murder, spokeswoman Ofirah Yheskel said in a statement his words had been twisted.
"No woman seeks a third-trimester abortion except in the case of tragic or difficult circumstances, such as a nonviable pregnancy or in the event of severe fetal abnormalities, and the governor’s comments were limited to the actions physicians would take in the event that a woman in those circumstances went into labor," she said.
The Guttmacher Institute disagrees, however, writing, "data suggest that most women seeking later terminations are not doing so for reasons of fetal anomaly or life endangerment."
Northam, a physician, tweeted, "I have devoted my life to caring for children and any insinuation otherwise is shameful and disgusting."
I have devoted my life to caring for children and any insinuation otherwise is shameful and disgusting.
— Ralph Northam (@GovernorVA) January 31, 2019