McAuliffe Flips on Virginia Late-Term Abortion Bill, Calls It 'Common Sense'

April 1, 2019

Former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe said he would not have vetoed a controversial abortion bill in the Virginia House of Delegates that would have allowed women to seek abortions up to the moment of birth, calling it a "common sense bill" during a Monday interview on the John Fredericks Show.

McAuliffe explained that the bill was not completely focused on expanding abortion access throughout an entire pregnancy, but rather that it sought to change the Virginia requirement stating that women must get the approval of three doctors before pursuing a late term abortion.

"This is very important. This is when stuff gets caught up in the political grinder," McAuliffe said in reference to the outrage that ensued after Delegate Kathy Tran (D.) presented the bill and Gov. Ralph Northam supported it the following day, appearing to support infanticide.

During the bill's presentation in January, Majority Leader Todd Gilbert (R.) asked Tran if the bill had specific provisions for late term abortions.

"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?"  he asked. "She's dilating."

Tran said that was a decision the woman and her doctor must make privately. Gilbert then asked if the measure would allow for abortion right before birth.

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

Northam appeared to expand on Tran's bill during a radio interview where he said that a woman and a doctor could have a discussion about what to do with the child.

"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 said. "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."

At the time, McAuliffe disavowed Tran's legislation, saying that Northam had explained it inadequately.

"I think Ralph misspoke on that," McAuliffe told CNN's Jake Tapper. "No Democrat I know is for infanticide. None."

But now, McAuliffe says Tran misspoke too: the bill is about doctor approval, not expanding late-term abortion wholesale.

"Any discussion like this is bad for Virginia," he said. "It got turned into a political theater, and Republicans used it to their advantage, and I think Kathy Tran, when she was asked the question about the woman in dilation, the answer is no, not yes, it's no."

McAuliffe doubled down later in the interview, saying that disputing bills like Tran's will hurt the state of Virginia's attractiveness to women in positions of power.

"Any time you get in these discussions, it's not helpful," he said.

"This was a common-sense bill," McAuliffe added.

"But unfortunately," he said, "it became political."

McAuliffe also said he would not have vetoed the bill if he were governor.