Law

Virginia Governor Rekindles Heated Abortion Debate

A Southern officeholder gains little from pushing for a right to post-delivery abortion.

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On February 2, Gov. Ralph Northam (D–Va.) held a now-infamous press conference at which he admitted to having once "darkened" his face with shoe polish while dressing up as Michael Jackson. For his sins, he faced calls to resign from a range of erstwhile allies, including Hillary Clinton, Planned Parenthood, and the Virginia state House Democratic Caucus. (He has so far declined.)

Two days earlier, many of the same state House Democrats had stood proudly behind Northam, vigorously applauding, during another press conference at which he defended himself. The difference was that the first controversy was over his views on abortion—specifically his support for a bill to legalize the procedure in Virginia through the end of the third trimester.

For many people, that policy is morally indistinguishable from infanticide: If it's OK to kill a fetus 12 hours before birth, why is it wrong to kill a baby five minutes after? Northam did no favors to his cause when, during a late January radio interview, he answered a question about whether the proposed legislation would allow a woman already in labor to terminate her pregnancy. He said that in such a case "the infant would be delivered…and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother."

Was the governor of Virginia really suggesting that the abortion procedure could be completed after birth? Probably not. A fuller transcript shows that Northam, a medical doctor, was referring specifically to cases in which "there may be severe deformities [or] there may be a fetus that's not viable." When he said "a discussion would ensue," he likely meant a discussion about whether to prolong, through life support, the suffering of a baby with no chance of survival. Under current state law, that determination is indeed up to the mother and her physicians; the Virginia bill would not have changed that. Northam's comment was regrettably ambiguous, but a Southern officeholder gains little from pushing for a right to post-delivery abortion.

The concerns of the pro-life activists who rushed to castigate him were not entirely baseless, however. A New York law, passed just a few days before, repealed a statutory protection for infants—including healthy ones—accidentally born during abortion attempts. Put otherwise, that state now permits viable but unwanted children to be left to die after birth. In addition, both the New York law and the now-tabled Virginia bill effectively allow abortion up until the moment of delivery even in cases where the fetus is healthy and the mother faces no serious health complication. The overwhelming majority of Americans oppose legalization in such cases, according to polls.

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  1. “Post-delivery abortion”? The word is “murder”. Fuck these mealy-mouthed neologisms.

    -jcr

    1. I’m very inclined to believe Alex Jones on this one….ghouls, like Northam, probably have the harvesting of infant organs in mind….freah, tasty organs….just a pineal gland, you know….to chew on….

      1. Eyes, lungs, pancreas. So many snacks, so little time

      2. Eyes, lungs, pancreas. So many snacks, so little time

      3. Well, yeah, now that Chris Reeves is gone. You’re breaking my balls, sir.

    2. Yup.

    3. Exactly jcr

    4. Look at it the other way.

      It’s an explicit admission that abortion has always been murder in their minds.

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  2. There are literally the representatives of almost the entire Democrat party, from old neolib hawks and grifters, to the new wave of astroturfed Justice Democrats and identity zealots, all cheering and clapping, faces lit with glee and smug self-righteousness, for their firmly held conviction that murdering children is the zenith of female empowerment, and a landmark development in the struggle for “progress”.

    Yeah, that’s all one sentence.

    1. +10

    2. You’re a fucking idiot.

      1. What’s idiotic is pushing for right up to birth abortions when 70% of Americans dont agree with murdering babies in the third trimester. We know you treat it like a happy game to see how late a baby you can kill, but not everybody is morbid.

      2. You’re a fucking idiot.

        It is rare to see such a nuanced and well-reasoned take-down of a pro-lifer. Such an impeccably sourced and artfully persuasive argument, well done! The way you picked his position apart point by point with such cogent rebuttals! There is no way he is coming back after that.

        1. I tried, but his scathing rebuttal hit me so hard, plumb square in the feels, that I can scarcely lift my hand to wipe the tears from my smarting cheeks.

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  4. It defines and demonstrates the character of the nation.

    In the US annually the abortion industry murders 750,000 helpless and completely innocent human beings.

    It is the worst genocide in earths history happening right now.

    1. According to the CDC, black women make up only 6% of the US population, but they account for 35% of all the abortions. The KKK is minor league compared to the PP (Planned Parenthood).

      Planned Parenthood founder and eugenics advocate Margaret Sanger started “The Negro Project” in 1939 to thwart the population growth of the poor and minorities, or, as Sanger put it, to discourage “the defective and diseased elements of humanity” from their “reckless and irresponsible swarming and spawning.”

      Sanger, a Darwinist, enlisted black ministers to convince minorities to use contraceptives, explaining, “We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population and the minister is the man who can straighten out the idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.”

      1. According to the CDC, black women make up only 6% of the US population, but they account for 35% of all the abortions.

        That just proves abortion opponents are racist ? they want to eliminate a Constitutional right that is disproportionately accessed by black bodies.

        1. Powerful stuff there, OBL. Keep up the good work.

      2. Way to misrepresent Sanger’s views, tommyguns2.

        The political/religious establishment at the time wanted poor women to stay “barefoot and pregnant” for most of their lives. Contraception and information on how to access it might allow poor people to break the cycle of poverty and misery by making it possible to stop having children they could not afford to raise. It might further make it possible for them to have fewer and healthier children when they did choose to have them.

        Anticipating your “bitches shouldn’t be fucking if they don’t want to have babies” I say, “Fuck you, you self-righteous prig!”

        1. “The political/religious establishment at the time wanted poor women to stay “barefoot and pregnant” for most of their lives.”

          Citation needed.

          “Contraception and information on how to access it might allow poor people to break the cycle of poverty and misery by making it possible to stop having children they could not afford to raise.”

          Wait, you mean now? Cause we have Google.

          “It might further make it possible for them to have fewer and healthier children when they did choose to have them.”

          Funny, every time I have sex I take it that I’ve made a “choice” to potentially make a child. So I’ve chosen to have them.

          1. “Fuck you, you self-righteous prig!”

            1. Ad hominem, try again.

          2. And for what it’s worth, I do not mean now, I mean at the time that Margaret Sanger was active.

            At that time, hell, well into the 1960s contraception was illegal in many states, Canada and the UK.

            In an interesting twist, historically the states in which contraception and even abortion were most favorably viewed are today the reddest states, ie the southern and western states. Rather than a conservative/liberal divide it was a Catholic/Protestant divide. The same thing happened with respect to the whole Northern Ireland troubles in the 1960/70s.

            Your last paragraph reveals that it is still all about the slut’shaming to you, so I repeat “Fuck you, you self-righteous prig!” or alternatively “Fuck you, slaver!”

            1. “Your last paragraph reveals that it is still all about the slut’shaming to you”

              Yes, personal responsibly for one’s actions is “shaming”.

              If one has sex (of a certain kind), the consequence is sometimes babies. That’s just reason and biology. Hating it doesn’t make it cease to be true.

              Maybe you should read Mises’ “Human Action”. The first few chapters start VERY simply about why a human acts any why. Spoiler, they act because they think the result of this act will bring them utility. They aren’t always right, however.

  5. A Southern officeholder gains little from pushing for a right to post-delivery abortion.

    Virginia has NOT been the South for a loooooonnnnggg time.

    Virginia is run by piece of shit lawyers and politicians out of Washington DC now.

    1. NOVA basically controls the state right now and all the politicians from here are slimes

      1. We will see how long that lasts. If the dems win big in 2020 and jack up taxes for redistribution and the GND, NoVa won’t be so blue anymore

        1. Census 2020 will have some interesting congressional district changes. Dont know if it will affect Virginia but Blue states are definitely losing House seats to Red states like Georgia.

    2. That is what happens when you lose – – – –

      1. Demographic changes are very powerful to changing the political landscape and Reason staff know this.

        Its another reason that they want open borders. Importing large percentages of people not willing to fight Socialism.

        That and running up $22 trillion in national debt.

        Two strategies to destroy the USA as a freedom loving nation compared to the rest of the World.

        1. Yeah, because Reason is so pro socialism and running up the national debt.

          Where did you go to school that left you with such poor reading comprehension skills?

    3. Virginia is about as Southern as New England is still a part of Great Britain

      1. Virginia suffers from having metro D.C. area. Plenty of good folks outside the beltway.

  6. Just a reminder that most European nations, and all developed nations, including those wonderful utopian “socialist” ones, have far more restrictive abortion laws than America does. Most have 12 week elective abortion limits, after which you need to personally plead your case to the government to allow it and explain why you can’t have that child, and almost all have mandatory waiting periods.

    1. Excellent point.

      It is also worth remembering that “America” doesn’t have an abortion law, the fifty US states have abortion laws. I am constantly having to tell my foreign friends this when they say “In America they…”.

      There are parts of the USA where abortion is barely a blip on the controversy radar, elsewhere it’s the most important issue ever.

  7. Cuomo and NY are evil.

  8. It’s very disappointing that Reason allows this anti-choice extremist to write about abortion access. If Ms. Slade had her way, this country would literally become The Handmaid’s Tale.

    In the interest of balance, for every Slade piece criticizing “late term abortion,” Reason should publish 10 Elizabeth Nolan Brown pieces defending the practice.

    In addition, both the New York law and the now-tabled Virginia bill effectively allow abortion up until the moment of delivery even in cases where the fetus is healthy and the mother faces no serious health complication.

    Good. That’s exactly what all serious libertarians want. Human beings have rights; clumps of cells do not.

    1. You, are nothing more than a clump of cells.

      You have chosen murder making you less worthy of life than the youngest human.

      1. Are you new here?

        1. No, he’s just our resident nazi.

          1. Yes, recognizing reason (that humans are just a clump of cells), is “Nazi”.

    2. My high school English teacher would love your account.

  9. I’m calling this for what it is. These weasels are playing senantics with the language just like the cultusts do with ‘climate change”. Mengele, Gosnell and Nurse Ratchet would be proud.

    Don’t think for one minute a healthy baby would be terminated at some point.

  10. Y’all have no god damn sense. Y’all whine and whine about govt subsidizing healthcare for poor and sick people. Y’all are defined by your indifference to the suffering of others but here you are with your concern. A concern that has nothing to do with a fetus and everything to do with your need to demon people. Fuck all of you.

    1. Well said.

      #LibertariansForThirdTrimesterAbortion

    2. Are you code switching out of racism like most liberals?

    3. You’re retarded. I am absolutely not indifferent to anyone’s suffering. I oppose govt bombing and otherwise murdering ppl around the world. I also oppose govt run healthcare and other welfare services not because I hate poor ppl. Au contraire, fella, I oppose the govt doing these things because it doesn’t do them well, and can only do them at all by stealing from others thru force.

      As for abortion – I’m fairly “pro choice” in that regard, but aborting babies post delivery seems kinda fucked up.

      1. Noone is talking about “aborting babies post delivery”. The discussion is about what happens if the baby of a woman who sought an abortion is delivered alive.

        1. So… killing a live born baby

  11. *Demonize

  12. This article seemed like it was developing a point, going somewhere, then it suddenly ended. Weird.

    1. It read like straight reporting. She provides the context, clarification of Northam, acknowledgment of what the actual bills say, and provides the opinion polls of how popular it is.

      Its largely devoid of opinion… which is rather surprising.

      And she didn’t use any words that demonize one side or the other.

      1. “he likely meant a discussion about whether to prolong, through life support, the suffering of a baby with no chance of survival. Under current state law, that determination is indeed up to the mother and her physicians; the Virginia bill would not have changed that.”

        That’s entirely baseless speculation followed by a statement of fact about the entirely baseless speculation. I see no indication that the author attempted to run her hypothesis by the Governor for confirmation or clarification.

        1. Considering other ways that could have gone, she gave benefit of doubt over villainizing.

          1. Maybe.

            Reporters do not do either.

  13. Good post, Slade, thanks. A little heavy on the consequentialism, but I guess maybe persuasive positions almost have to be.

  14. It is amazing how little one’s questionable choices in life do not matter if one is a Democrat.

    1. So, with you it’s all about the slut-shaming, then?

  15. “The overwhelming majority of Americans oppose legalization in such cases, according to polls.”

    The polls referred to here are people who generally don’t face the decisions. So they are a subjective poll about how you feel. Look at the abortion rate for diagnosed with Down Syndrome, which is about 75% in the US. This is a hard number and indicate that most people want the choice to terminate these pregnancies. So I suggest a more reasonable define of American’s feeling on abortion is this. “As long as it is a time I and my partner want a baby, as long as I and my partner have enough money to raise the baby, as long as the baby is not physically handicapped or damaged, as long as the baby is not my teenage daughter’s, then I am pro-life.”

    1. “The polls referred to here are people who generally don’t face the decisions.”

      Fortunately I’ve only been barefoot by choice. I’ve never had to face the decision of whether it would be acceptable to shoot somebody in order to claim their shoes for my own.

      Are you saying I cannot unequivocally state that it is wrong to murder someone solely for their shoes?

        1. Why the +1.

          You are replying to someone who believes that someone who has the cognitive ability to want to keep his shoes is the legal and moral equivalent of a clump of cells that has no consciousness at all.

          It’s all about the slut-shaming for him

          Bitches shouldn’t be having sex if they don’t want to have babies.

  16. So let me get this straight- in NY, a woman can now simply decide moments before birth that she does not want to keep the baby and it would now be perfectly legal for her to “dispose” of it. I have always been generally pro-choice, but this crosses the line

  17. They’re not crossing my line.

  18. Governor Blackface still has a job?

    1. Yep-he only can serve one term anyway and figured (correctly) that Most Virginians would eventually forget or not really give a shit because he’s a DEM, so gets a pass.

    2. Is it actually blackface if you are impersonating a particular person?

      The “Negro minstrel” in blackface is generally frowned upon because he is playing a generic part representing all blacks a ridiculous subhuman nonpersons in much the same way as the cartoonist who depicts a black subject as a gorilla or other ape.

      On the other hand, an impersonation can often be a tribute and in order for a white person to impersonate a black person he would have to use some kind of darkening makeup. So, is blackface (as in actual black shoe polish black) a racist offense or just a bad makeup job?

      Just as, is Roseanne Barr saying that a specific notable public figure who happened to be black looked like the “muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby” a joke in really bad taste or a racist epithet?

      From my planet, it appears that mental illness is widespread earthlings, especially you Americans and you all fucking need to get over all of this shit or you’ll end up murdering each other or at the very least being extremely agitated and unhappy.

      1. Next Halloween I will not be in blackface, I will be in Virginia Governorface.

        1. Where did you go to school that left you with such poor reading comprehension skills?

          1. It’s called a joke.

            Earthlings are rather fond of them. Well, except for the autistic ones.

  19. If that’s actually what he meant, it’s pretty easy to clarify, yet he has not done so. You’re giving him way too much benefit of the doubt, especially since he doesn’t deserve it to begin with.

  20. Was the governor of Virginia really suggesting that the abortion procedure could be completed after birth? Probably not. A fuller transcript shows that Northam, a medical doctor, was referring specifically to cases in which “there may be severe deformities [or] there may be a fetus that’s not viable.” When he said “a discussion would ensue,” he likely meant a discussion about whether to prolong, through life support, the suffering of a baby with no chance of survival.

    Probably, could have, likely meant. What did Northam mean? Has anyone asked him?

    Also, I’m not really sure 12 hours before birth makes me totes comfortable.

  21. Probably we should discuss more often why murder should be illegal: It’s because people have plans for life in the future. Some of them don’t care to live, & helping them die is fine, but others do want to live. Most living things AFAICT don’t have conscious plans, so killing them is fine too, unless they’re someone’s property, because the owner may have plans for them that depends on their continued living.

    Fetuses & newborns are among the things that don’t have plans. Their parents in those cases may be treated as owners & have plans for them. But if the parents want them dead, killing them is OK, because the things being killed aren’t disappointed by knowing they’re about to die. In fact they wouldn’t even understand “about to die”.

    1. ” In fact they wouldn’t even understand “about to die”.”

      Neither will you during your next colonoscopy, nor while asleep.

      How much time should we give you to wake up?

      1. As much time as I specify in my advance directive.

        1. You have an advanced directive for when you take a nap?

          1. Where did you go to school that left you with such poor reading comprehension skills?

            1. So, fair game during sleep.

              Got it.

            2. For the reading challenged, I actually have plans for my future life after I wake up from my nap.

              OTOH, my advanced directive does cover my next colonoscopy.

              1. And every child has plans for their future. That they cannot communicate them to you in a manner that you can comprehend does not mean they do not exist.

                1. Fetuses are not children.

                  1. FWIW, I do not have a problem with restrictions on third trimester abortions.

                    That said, i do not believe that those restrictions should extent to prohibiting them altogether.

                    Also, I not only believe in a woman’s right to choose, I also believe in a man’s right to choose. I see no reason why a man who has casual sex with a woman, absent an agreement to support any issue from said copulation in the form of say a marriage license, an engagement ring or other evidence of intent to have a child together, should have any financial obligation for any child the woman chooses to have as a consequence of said coitus beyond the cost of an abortion.

                    I see no reason why a woman’s religious preference or her maternal urges should prempent a man’s choice to not be involved .

                  2. They are living humans.

                    You can define any word to mean anything, yet murder is still murder.

      2. And, to repeat my previous question, “Where did you go to school that left you with such poor reading comprehension skills?”

        1. You totally ignore “while asleep” yet accuse me of poor reading comprehension?

          Yeah sure. You are getting cranky, maybe you need a nap.

          1. For the reading challenged, I actually have plans for my future life after I wake up from my nap.

            OTOH, my advanced directive does cover my next colonoscopy.

            1. IOW, “Robert” covered “plans for my future life” above.

              I’m pretty sure all of your concern about abortion is covered by your slut-shaming.

              1. Bitches shouldn’t be having sex if they don’t want to have babies, right?

                1. Yeah, that is exactly what I’m saying. Boy you sure are perceptive and all smarty like.

              2. My ‘slut shaming’?

                Can you quote any of my slut shaming?

                1. It’s implied.

  22. I tend to agree with Stephanie that Northam’s comments were mischaracterized. But the legislation he champions and that is now law in NY legalizes abortion on a woman in labor and dialating. Democrats have pushed back claiming that there are laws against infanticide so we needn’t worry. As a practical matter this only requires that the infant be killed before it leaves the womb to be legal. It’s hard to imagine a constituency for this but they seem to be the majority in the Democratic leadership.

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