by Thomas Valentine
Virginia state Delegate Kathy Tran, a Democrat, introduced a bill this week that she freely admitted would legalize abortion at any point of pregnancy, up until birth.
During questions about her bill in a House subcommittee from Republican Delegate Todd Gilbert, Tran was asked about the bill’s allowance of third trimester abortions if an abortionist certifies that continuing the pregnancy would “impair the mental or physical health of the woman.” What qualifies as impairing mental or physical health is never defined in the bill and could be interpreted to mean almost anything. Tran frankly admitted that her bill would allow abortion all the way through the third trimester — even up until birth:
TODD GILBERT: Delegate Tran, how late in a pregnancy would your bill apply if a physician was simply willing to certify that continuation of the pregnancy would impair the mental health of the woman? How late are we talking about?
TRAN: The way — the suggestion we’ve made in the bill is to say it’s in the third trimester, and you know, with the certification of the physician.
GILBERT: So how late in the third trimester would you be able to do that?
TRAN: You know, it’s very unfortunate that our physicians — witnesses were not able to attend today to specifically —
GILBERT: No, I’m talking about your bill. How late in the third trimester could a physician perform an abortion if he indicated it would impair the mental health of the woman?
TRAN: Or physical health.
GILBERT: Okay. I’m talking about the mental health.
TRAN: So, I mean, through the third trimester. The third trimester goes all the way up to 40 weeks.
GILBERT: Okay. But to the end of the third trimester?
TRAN: Yep. I don’t think we have a limit in the bill.
GILBERT: So, where it’s obvious that a woman is about to give birth — she has physical signs that she is about to give birth — would that still be a point at which she could request an abortion if she was so certified?
GILBERT: She’s dilating.
TRAN: Mr. Chairman, that would be a — you know, a decision that the doctor, the physician, and the woman would make at that point.
GILBERT: I understand that, I’m asking if your bill allows that.
TRAN: My bill would allow that, yes.
Questioned further, Tran said the doctor would not need to have any specialized mental health training to be able to determine whether the woman’s mental health was actually at risk. When Gilbert asked “In terms of the health or life of the mother, what conditions are there that can’t be resolved by delivering the child rather than undergoing an abortion?” neither Tran nor a NARAL representative she brought in could give specific examples.
The bill was tabled by the committee in a 5-3 party line vote, with all Republicans voting to table and all Democrats voting to keep the bill. Republicans currently hold a tiny 51-49 majority in the Virginia House of Delegates, with all 100 delegates up for re-election this November.
Tran is a first-term Democrat from a wealthy district in the Washington, D.C., suburbs.
What may be even more horrifying than Tran’s support for abortions up until the moment of birth is the fact that twenty-one other Democrats are cosponsors of her bill — and Democrat Gov. Ralph Northam has signaled he supports it.
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