Lorton, Virginia – Virginia Del. Kathy Tran (D) postponed her town hall meeting Saturday claiming there were “security and safety concerns” as pro-life groups organized and held a peaceful protest near the town hall location over the extreme late term abortion bill that Tran had introduced earlier in the week.
Tran’s bill, HB 2491, was defeated by Republicans in the Virginia Assembly on Tuesday and would’ve reduced the number of doctors necessary to certify the need for a late term abortion from three to just one. It also would've allowed an abortion after the second trimester for virtually any “mental or physical health” reason.
Tran said that her bill would allow abortion even after the onset of labor earlier this week in a now-viral video which received widespread backlash. She later claimed that she “misspoke.”
She said Thursday that, when asked if her bill allowed abortion after a woman went into labor, "I should have said: 'Clearly, no because infanticide is not allowed in Virginia, and what would have happened in that moment would be a live birth.'"
However, Gov. Ralph Northam worsened the situation in an interview with WTOP Wednesday where he argued that babies could be left to die after 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.”
During their protest Saturday, pro-life leaders focused on combatting Tran and Northam’s push for such extreme abortion measures especially in light of a similar measure becoming law in New York.
Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, told Townhall that the purpose of the protest was “to bring together a very strong coalition led by women to tell directly to Delegate Tran this is not for women.”
“She is not living up to the principles that she was sworn to uphold and she should be defeated along with anyone else that is associated with the bill and we hope that the governor resigns,” she emphasized.
When asked about Tran’s clarification that she should not have said her bill allowed abortion even after the onset of labor, Dannenfelser said it showed Tran was “afraid” of the reaction to her extreme statement.
“It’s justice being worked out when somebody stands for something truly evil that there is an equal and opposite reaction from the other side so she should be very concerned about her future, she’s a first-term delegate,” she said.
“One of the good things that happens in a situation like this,” she continued, “when there’s an obvious overreach on the other side and we react in a very strong and positive way to say that we won’t put up with it, is that legislators and other elected officials all around the country look to that situation and say I don’t want to go there.”
Dannenfelser attributed the left's recent push for late term abortion to a fear that Roe v. Wade could be overturned.
“There’s a panic at the heart of the pro-abortion movement,” she emphasized. “They’re very concerned about Roe v. Wade being overturned and so they’re really making a lot of mistakes and this is one.”
She argued that the national attention drawn by these Democrats' admissions that they are in favor of extreme measures opens the door for Americans to see the truth of the issue.
“I think it’s a moment of a potential shift, a real shift as people know the truth they start to align themselves in the right place,” she said.
Some of the speakers at the protest said that Tran cancelled her town hall because she didn’t want to deal with those who disagreed with her.
"They decided to cancel because they were afraid,” Heritage Action’s grassroots director Janae Stracke said at the event. “They wanted to come and make a statement and affirm themselves, but they found out you guys were coming."
"They know that they are not speaking for their people, they know they are not representing Americans. They are bought and paid for by the abortion industry," Stracke added.
“They’re afraid of Roe v Wade being overturned,” she said, “they have to fight back against this in an extreme way because money is on the line for them.”
Amy McInerny, Director of Respect Life for the Catholic Diocese of Arlington, urged those gathered to stay informed on abortion legislation and to vote pro-life in November.
“This bill, my friends, was not a fluke but a key part of a bold and calculated attempt by the abortion lobby to take over our beloved Old Dominion,” she told those gathered, “from the dangerous and deceptively named Equal Rights Amendment to healthcare abortion mandates to Delegate Tran’s bill which would’ve abolished virtually every Virginia law that provides even minimal protection to unborn children this is a steady march towards the total loss of legal protection for unborn children and their mothers.”
“These bills have only been stopped up to now because we have a slim majority of pro-lifers in the general assembly,” she added.
Following the outrage over his remarks on abortion, Northam may be forced to resign over a photo from his medical school yearbook that surfaced Friday which featured someone in Ku Klux Klan robes and someone in blackface. He has so far refused to resign despite many prominent, bipartisan calls for him to do so.