There are some issues upon which nearly every member of every political party can agree. These issues involve acts deemed so clearly wrong by the majority of Americans that it would be the rare Signal reader who has had a family member, friend, co-worker, or even fervent internet enemy advocate for legalization on any of these issues.
One of those issues is infanticide: the killing of a born, breathing baby.
Nearly every person I know would be appalled at the idea of making such an act legal, and because I’m old, I’ve had time to get to know many different types of people who hold wildly dissimilar views. I have argued with most of them about something or other. Almost none of them ever attempted to put forth a pro-infanticide case.
Except for that one family member…
In his defense, he was drunk and a bit of a provocateur when riled up, and I do not believe he could have ever gotten drunk enough to actually vote for the legalization of infanticide.
God bless his departed soul, that family member came to mind at the end of January this year as I watched Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam explain how the state’s proposed new abortion legislation would work, if passed.
The legislation did not pass. Also, it is unlikely that most of those who voted in favor of the legislation interpreted it in the same way Gov. Northam did. This column is not about the correct interpretation of the failed legislation. It is about Gov. Northam’s personal interpretation (as governor and former Army doctor) of how physicians would implement the legislation.
Speaking at a filmed event for WTOP’s “Ask the Governor,” Northam stated:
“And it’s done in cases where there may be severe deformities, there may be a fetus that’s non-viable. So, in this particular example, if a mother were 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.”
Unless the ensuing discussion would be about whether or not to use painkillers if the non-viable, no-longer-fetus-but-born-and-breathing infant was about to suffer during an inevitable, quick death, or unless it involved whether to send the severely deformed infant either to a hospital or to a foster care facility with experience in special needs children, then it is clear that Gov. Northam (correctly or incorrectly) is under the impression that the proposed legislation would’ve allowed for infanticide in certain cases.
It is unclear if Gov. Northam is an anomaly in politics today. There was not much coverage of his remark because, only a week later, the Democratic governor was fending off press concerning his possible college-yearbook-blackface picture.
But Republicans, like their mascot, never forget. Within a month, the Senate proposed the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, and 97 of our elected officials went on record as to whether a specific class of fully born babies did or did not deserve protection.
Our Senate voted that they did not.
The most common reason given for the fact that only three Democrats crossed the aisle while 44 Democrats voted against protecting fully born babies who had somehow survived an abortion is that the law was grandstanding and redundant because such babies are already protected by current law.
But Gov. Northam doesn’t seem to think they are. Rightly or wrongly, he is under the impression that in some cases, a discussion would ensue over the life of a delivered, comfortable, resuscitated infant if his state’s proposed new abortion law had passed.
It would be nice if Democratic officials would press Gov. Northam to explain himself with the same fervor that occurred during his blackface scandal. But it is understandable if they prefer to keep him out of the spotlight, sort of like how most of us do with our crazy, drunk family members.
And so, the case for the utility of infanticide has now been put on the table. Will more than three elected Democrats condemn it or is it now up for discussion? For my part, I hope that opposition to infanticide will remain a unifying issue across party lines forever.
To watch Gov. Northam speak for himself, readers can go online to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SkTopSKo1xs. The above quote comes at about the halfway point of the two-minute clip.
Lisa Lavadores grew up in the Santa Clarita Valley and was the first Saugus High School columnist for The Signal. She lives in Val Verde.