Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) held a press conference Thursday to deal with the outrage over remarks he made earlier this week suggesting that in some cases infants could be left to die after birth. Northam said he did not regret those remarks.
Gov. Northam commented on late term abortion on WTOP Wednesday when asked about Del. Kathy Tran’s bill that would permit abortion up until birth.
“It’s done in cases where there may be severe deformities, there may be a fetus that’s nonviable,” Northam said of third trimester abortions. “So in this particular example, if a mother’s 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.”
These remarks and Del. Tran's acknowledgement that her bill would allow abortion after a woman went into labor earned intense criticism. President Trump, Vice President Pence, and many other Republican lawmakers condemned the Democrats' extremism on the issue. One Democratic co-sponsor of Tran’s bill even withdrew her support after realizing what it said and admitted that she had not read the legislation before co-sponsoring it.
However, in his press conference Thursday, Northam said he didn’t regret his comments.
“Do you regret what you said yesterday or the way you said it?” a reporter asked.
“No, I don’t,” he replied.
“I’m a physician, I’m also the governor but when I’m asked questions a lot of times it is put in the context of being a physician,” he continued, “again realizing how we approach, how we manage patients, how we offer advice and counseling so no, I don’t have any regrets.”
"I regret that those comments have been mischaracterized," Northam added.
He emphasized his experience as a pediatric neurologist throughout his remarks but never directly addressed whether or not he believes infants should be resuscitated after birth or potentially left to die as his prior comments suggested.
“I have practiced medicine for now over thirty years,” he emphasized. “I can certainly say as a child neurologist I have had very difficult conversations with patients and their families during very tragic times and that is why discussions should be between a physician such as myself and the patient and it just reaffirms why the legislature again most of whom are men should not be interfering with a woman’s access to reproductive healthcare. Those are the types of discussions that I have.”
Northam also claimed that questions about his comments were simply being asked to score “political points.”
"These comments that have been made, the questions that have been asked, are nothing more than political points," he said.
"We're here to set the record straight. Virginia Democrats are on the side of ensuring women get the health care they need," Northam claimed.