A Virginia Democratic House member acknowledged under questioning this week that her bill would legalize unrestricted abortion through all 40 weeks of pregnancy, even if the woman is dilated and in labor.
The bill, HB 2491, was defeated in committee, but not before its sponsor, Delegate Kathy Tran, answered detailed questions in a video that has gone viral. The bill would have removed most restrictions to late-term abortions.
Tran’s bill permitted third-trimester abortions if a pregnancy threatened a woman’s life or “impair[ed] the mental or physical health” of the woman. At least one doctor would have to certify those conditions. The bill would have removed the current requirement that three doctors agree that late-term abortion is required.
Such loopholes have been interpreted broadly by courts to permit abortion for virtually any reason.
“How late in the third trimester could a physician perform an abortion if he indicated it would impair the mental health of the woman?” GOP Delegate and committee chairman Todd Gilbert asked Tran.
“Through the third trimester,” Tran responded. “The third trimester goes all the way up to 40 weeks. … I don’t think we have a limit in the bill.”
Gilbert then pressed her: “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? … She's dilating.”
Dilation is one stage of a woman’s labor.
“Mr. Chairman,” Tran responded, “that would be a decision that the doctor – the physician – and the women would make at that point.
“I understand that,” Gilbert said. “I'm asking if your bill allows that.”
“My bill would allow that. Yes,” Tran answered.
Heartbreaking... This isn't in New York, this isn't in California, this happened just this week right here in Virginia. @VAHouseDems proposed legislation to provide abortions up to just seconds before that precious child takes their first breath. Watch for yourself. pic.twitter.com/AxgPVyI6kU— VA House GOP (@vahousegop) January 29, 2019
The pro-life group Live Action said Tran did not want to acknowledge the bill’s ramifications.
“It’s obvious from the video that Tran is uneasy admitting that the bill would allow a woman to request an abortion while she is in active labor with a viable baby,” the Live Action said. “Perhaps that’s because she knows as well as anyone else how absolutely horrific and inhumane – and utterly and wholly unnecessary – that would be.”
R. Albert Mohler Jr. president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary tweeted: “God, help us. Virginia bill would legalize abortion up to birth. This is the most chilling testimony from a legislator I have ever seen.”
After New York passed its law removing abortion restrictions, OB/GYN Dr. Omar L. Hamada made headlines by asserting third-trimester abortions are never necessary.
“I want to clear something up so that there is absolutely no doubt. I’m a Board Certified OB/GYN who has delivered over 2,500 babies,” he wrote. “There’s not a single fetal or maternal condition that requires third-trimester abortion. Not one. Delivery, yes. Abortion, no.”
Michael Foust is a freelance writer. Visit his blog, MichaelFoust.com.
Photo courtesy: Julie Johnson/Unsplash
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, The Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.