The scandal of Virginia’s Democratic Governor Ralph Northam has peeled back the curtain on a little-known corner of the abortion industry. What happens when the infant survives an abortion to be born alive?
You’ve heard about late-term abortion, which occurs when the infant is far enough along to survive outside the womb with proper medical care. You’ve heard about partial-birth abortion, where the infant is partially delivered feet first before being killed with a sharp jab to the base of his skull.
What Governor Northam approves, however, is infanticide. Speaking with the authority of a board-certified pediatrician, Northam said, “If a mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen.”
Governor Northam is not just a politician, he’s a medical doctor with a specialty in pediatric neurology. Even after 12 years as an elected official, Northam remains a member of the medical staff at a children’s hospital in Norfolk.
The pro-abortion Dr. Northam continued: “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.”
That “discussion” would not be whether to wrap the baby in pink or blue. Not about whether to start a college fund. Not about teaching the new mother how to breastfeed her new baby.
No, the discussion would be whether to leave the baby on a table without care or sustenance until it stops breathing and turns cold. The practice of abandoning a newborn to die is known as infanticide, which the civilized world has prohibited since Christianity took over the Roman Empire in the fourth century A.D.
Northam pretended that “When we talk about third-trimester abortions, it’s done in cases where there may be severe deformities. There may be a fetus that’s non-viable.”
In fact, severe fetal deformity explains only a small fraction of late-term abortions. This is confirmed by the Guttmacher Institute, which is a spinoff of Planned Parenthood.
The Washington Post let the cat out of the bag, reporting that the uproar over Northam’s comments “has disrupted carefully laid plans to bolster abortion rights across the nation after President Trump elevated Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.”
In other words, the spate of pro-abortion legislation in Virginia, New York, and several other states didn’t just happen. It was part of a national campaign by the abortion industry “to push state laws that would maintain access to the procedure if the national protections are knocked down” by the Supreme Court.
“More concerning to abortion rights advocates,” the Post continued, “the abortion debate is now fixed on the least popular aspect of the measures in Virginia and elsewhere.” The “new attention” to late-term abortion is “not helpful” to their cause.
The mystery is why the abortion industry chose “to push measures that would loosen restrictions on late-term abortions,” which we’re told are very rare. Actually, they are not that rare: Guttmacher estimates over 10,000 a year, which is about the same as the number of people shot to death each year.
A late-term abortion, by definition, is performed after the point at which the unborn child can survive outside the womb, provided it receives appropriate care. Late-term abortions are typically done by injecting a poison intended to cause cardiac arrest, which results in “fetal demise” before it is delivered.
But sometimes the lethal injection fails, and the baby is delivered alive. That’s where Dr. Northam’s cruel position kicks in.
Some years ago Hadley Arkes, the retired professor of Jurisprudence and American Institutions at Amherst College, asked a prophetic question. Does a woman’s constitutional right to terminate her pregnancy necessarily entail the right to a dead baby?
“If you go with what Hillary is saying, in the ninth month, you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb of the mother just prior to the birth of the baby,” candidate Donald Trump said in the third presidential debate in 2016. “Now you can say that that’s okay, and Hillary can say that that’s okay, but it’s not okay with me.”
“That is not what happens in these cases,” Clinton replied, seemingly flustered by Trump’s forthright declaration. “And using that kind of scare rhetoric is just terribly unfortunate.”
A fact checker for the Washington Post predictably came to Hillary’s defense, claiming that “only” 1.3 percent of abortions occur after 21 weeks, when the infant can survive outside the womb. But that 1.3 percent is more than 10,000 people, which is still a shocking number.
As the new poster boy for late-term abortion, should Ralph Northam resign as governor of Virginia? No, he should remain in office until it’s time to fill the next vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court.
John and Andy Schlafly are sons of Phyllis Schlafly (1924-2016) and lead the continuing Phyllis Schlafly Eagles organizations with writing and policy work.