Will Someone Please Explain To Anti-Choice Idiots That Nobody's Killing Born Babies?
Yesterday morning, Governor Ralph Northam of Virginia went on a radio show and announced his unequivocal support for a bill that would allow doctors to just straight up murder the perfectly healthy babies of selfish, uncaring, slutty women right after those babies are born. Or, at least, that is what the stupidest people on the entire planet are accusing him of doing.
In reality, Northam -- who is actually a pediatric neurologist, mind you -- was asked whether or not he supported a bill from state Rep. Kathy Tran seeking to loosen some restrictions on third-trimester abortions, including requiring only one physician to sign off on the procedure and allowing them to be performed at a clinic rather than a hospital. He was also asked about the fact that Tran has been accused of advocating for post-birth abortions on perfectly healthy babies -- which, you know, she's not.
In fact, the bill explicitly states:
"measures for life support for the product of such abortion or miscarriage shall be available and utilized if there is any clearly visible evidence of viability."
Taking issue with the part of the bill that would require only one physician to sign off on the procedure, Northam explained what would happen if a mother were to go into labor and give birth to a nonviable infant.
"I wasn't there, Julie, and I certainly can't speak for delegate Tran. But I will tell you that, one, the first thing I would say, this is why decisions such as this should be made by providers, physicians and the mothers and fathers that are involved.
When we talk about third-trimester abortions, these are done with the consent of obviously the mother, with the consent of the physicians, more than one physician by the way, and it's done in cases where there may be severe deformities, there may be a fetus that's non-viable. So, in this particular example if the 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.
So, I think this was really blown out of proportion. But again we want the government not to be involved in these types of decisions. We want the decision to be made by the mothers and their providers. And this is why, Julie, legislators, most of whom are men, by the way, shouldn't be telling a woman what she should or shouldn't be doing with her body."
What he's describing is not an abortion. It is what happens when someone gives birth and the child is not going to survive. This is something that happens all the time in hospitals -- loved ones trying to make a tough decision on whether or not to continue treatment if a patient is not going to live, or is brain dead.
But rather than considering, for a moment, the circumstances under which deciding to continue with life-preserving efforts when there is no question that the child cannot survive, people like Curtis Houck of Newsbusters are pretending they don't know what the term "nonviable" means.
But you don't have to take my word for it! Allow BabyMed.com to explain what nonviable means:
A nonviable pregnancy means that either the fetus has no heartbeat or the hCG is not rising normally. Early in pregnancy, this could be a miscarriage or a missed spontaneous abortion. It could also be a pregnancy with a dead fetus later on in pregnancy. A nonviable pregnancy is a pregnancy without a chance of a live infant being born or without the fetus having a chance to survive if born alive.
As you may notice, at no point does Northram say "And then we kill a perfectly healthy baby for no reason." He says "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." What else is it that these people think should happen in this kind of situation? Do they want the child to be artificially kept alive no matter how much pain that might cause them?
There are, unfortunately, some situations in which a woman finds out late in her pregnancy that the baby isn't going to make it. There are times when someone goes through labor and gives birth to a child that cannot survive, for whatever reason. Where the child is born without a brain. Where keeping the child alive through artificial means would be extremely painful and torturous. I know people who have been through this with their very-much wanted pregnancies. It is not something I would wish on my worst enemy. This is what people are talking about when they talk about "severe deformities." They are not talking, as Caleb Hull, director of something called "Targeted Victory," disingenuously suggests, about babies born with Down Syndrome. Down Syndrome is not a "deformity."
Small birth defects, like a cleft palate, is also not the kind of severe abnormality that would be dealt with in this way.
They are talking about absolutely heartbreaking situations like this:
"After many examinations by experts, our baby was diagnosed with Thanatophoric Dysplasia. This condition meant her bones were measuring short (at 23 weeks she was measuring 12 weeks). The fatal part of this condition causes the chest cavity to not grow enough for her heart and her lungs.
"So upon birth when babies try and inhale for the first time, my baby girl would die from respiratory failure as her chest cavity would crush her lungs. With this diagnosis death is not peaceful; they struggle until they pass."
Insisting upon ignoring tragic circumstances like these in order to make a point about how excited liberals are to murder newborn babies is ridiculous, and comparing them to a child being born with a cleft palate is beyond cruel.
Hull, who went on about this all day, also claimed that Northam was not referring to infants who were not going to survive, but situations in which the baby was simply born with "abnormalities" or in which the mother's mental health would be impacted.
Here is the statement he is referring to, which, as you will notice, says literally nothing about "mental health:"
Republicans in Virginia and across the country are trying to play politics with women's health, and that is exactly why these decisions belong between a woman and her physician, most of whom are men.
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.
Attempts to extrapolate these comments otherwise is in bad faith and underscores exactly why the governor believes physicians and women, not legislators, should make these difficult and deeply personal circumstances.
Virginia's law currently prohibits third trimester abortions, except in the extreme circumstances in which a woman's life or health is at risk and that risk is certified by three physicians.
To hear Caleb tell it, however, you'd think they were talking about just stabbing a perfectly good newborn in the head because it was born with webbed feet or because the mother was kind of depressed that day. Which is not a thing anyone is doing or suggesting be done.
These statements are not made out of a belief that would happen, or concern for babies who might not get to experience the joy of taking one breath at birth and then dying from their crushed lungs. They are made out of a desire to paint women and their doctors and those who support abortion as horrible, cruel and selfish monsters who kill simply for the joy of killing, like so many lady Ted Bundys -- and they're willing to put parents through hell in order to make that point.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. In addition to her work at Wonkette, she also has a biweekly column at Dame. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse