Playing Politics with Abortion
Why we can’t agree on anything concerning abortion, and why we probably won’t any time soon
Early this year, Governor Ralph Northam (D) set off a firestorm that burned Virginia House Bill 2491 to ashes before it reached the floor (just before the second firestorm surrounding racist “blackface” photos that resurfaced, photos of which Governor Northam still hasn’t resigned over).
The Democrats in Virginia’s house were working on a bill that would expand the criteria for receiving an abortion and increase accessibility for the procedure. VA Delegate, Kathy Tran (D), stated in a committee hearing that the new bill would allow for abortions up to the time of birth at 40 weeks gestation — even to the point that a woman is dilated. Governor Ralph Northam didn’t help matters when he stepped in to “clarify” Tran’s comments in a radio interview, stating:
“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 it’s done in cases where there may be severe deformities. There may be a fetus that’s non-viable. If a 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.”
Flash forward to April 2019. Wisconsin finds itself in a similar situation surrounding abortion. Governor Tony Evers (D) has vetoed a “born alive” bill that would have imposed extreme penalties for doctors that don’t resuscitate babies who are born alive after a failed abortion.
Republican lawmakers argue that the current law is too elastic concerning the conditions under which a child born is protected, which could allow for some bad actors.
Democrats say the current law already protects babies born alive, and parts of the new law are redundant. Furthermore, Democrats are concerned that the law is too extreme. It potentially punishments doctors with life in prison who don’t perform life-saving actions on an infant who has severe abnormalities or isn’t viable outside the womb.
President Trump weighed in during his rally on Saturday night, saying:
“The baby is born. The mother meets with the doctor. They take care of the baby. They wrap the baby beautifully, and then the doctor and the mother determine whether or not they will execute the baby. I don’t think so.”
Trump’s comments have caused a tidal wave of negative attention from the media and Democratic lawmakers.
Trump has tied Tony Evers’ veto of the “Born Alive” bill to Northam’s comments on VA House Bill 2491, and although the two bills weren’t the same, the implications were similar.
The Republican ideology holds — A child is living inside its mother’s womb and deserves clearly defined rights and protections (although many make exceptions for rape or incest, citing a plausible self-defense case for the woman affected). The Democratic Party takes the position that a child is not alive until it is born (or by some arbitrary deadline like the heartbeat, feeling of pain, etc.), and in some cases, medical intervention isn’t necessary to prolong a life that is determined to be disabled or non-viable.
Unfortunately, everyone is playing politics. Abortion is a hot button issue because everyone sees life on the line, whether with the mother or the child. Both sides think they’re protecting people and both sides believe they have a moral obligation to do so. Simply said, abortion is easy politics for Republicans and Democrats alike.
President Trump’s comments echo his beliefs. A child is alive inside the womb, and comments like his are meant to shock. They’re meant to make Democrats think and define their position. The President is challenging his opponents to defend something he finds repugnant.
Trump’s tactic of trying to pin the Democrats down to take a side no this issue seems to parallel Mitch McConnell’s efforts in the Senate to see where each congressperson really stands on the Green New Deal (few Democrats were willing to vote yes, despite claiming they were for it).
Democrats think of people who conceive babies accidentally under extreme circumstances, such as when the mother has cancer and in which the doctor claims the baby cannot survive. If she has to travel thousands of miles to another country to get an abortion or does it in the shadows, it could be dangerous. Democrats latch onto comments like Trump’s and call him a liar.
Well, is he a liar?
It depends on your point of view. Democrats (and the mainstream media) say he is. Republicans (and conservative media) say he isn’t.
His language, however, is almost exactly the same as Ralph Northam’s original comments about what would happen if a baby was born and the parents and doctor determined it wasn’t viable or had deformities considered too extreme to merit medical attention.
In the wake of continuous failed attempts to pass a born-alive bill in the U.S. House, it seems that Democrats stand in favor of legal abortion up to the delivery of the child outside of the womb for the well-being of the mother (physically, or even mentally).
While advocates say these only occur in extreme circumstances, Republicans argue those circumstances should be more clearly defined. With 2020 looming, the only thing we can know for sure is that abortion will be a topic of headline for months and years to come.
Secret Coran-Stacy is a best-selling author, entrepreneur, and a senior contributor to CitizenSource, writing with a focus on U.S. elections and politics, media criticism, and illegal immigration. She hails from Little Rock, Arkansas.
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