President Trump said Thursday that Democrats are becoming the “party of late-term abortion,” amid a backlash over state lawmakers defending controversial bills that roll back restrictions on third-trimester abortions.
“Democrats are becoming the Party of late term abortion, high taxes, Open Borders and Crime!” Trump tweeted Thursday.
The president’s tweet comes amid a debate over bills like Virginia's The Repeal Act, which would repeal restrictions on third-trimester abortions. One of the sponsors, Democratic Del. Kathy Tran, sparked outrage earlier this week when she was asked at a hearing if a woman about to give birth and dilating could still request an abortion.
"My bill would allow that, yes," she said of the bill, which was tabled in committee.
But then Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam, a former pediatric neurologist, sparked a new controversy when he appeared on WTOP and was asked about Tran's comments. He said he couldn't speak for the delegate, but said that third-trimester abortions are done with "the consent of obviously the mother, with consent of the physician, multiple physicians by the way, and it's done in cases where there may be severe deformities or there may be a fetus that's not viable."
"So in this particular example, 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 family desired, and then a discussion would ensure between the physicians and the mother," he said.
Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., called Northam's comments "morally repugnant."
“In just a few years pro-abortion zealots went from ‘safe, legal, and rare’ to ‘keep the newborns comfortable while the doctor debates infanticide.’ I don’t care what party you’re from — if you can’t say that it’s wrong to leave babies to die after birth, get the hell out of public office," Sasse told the National Review.
Northam defended his remarks, saying: "I have devoted my life to caring for children and insinuation otherwise is shameful and disgusting."
Sasse responded: “What’s shameful is that you're too cowardly to say point blank that it’s wrong to leave babies to die after birth. You could have said that yesterday. But because you’re terrified of an extremist pro-abortion lobby that now defends even infanticide, you're still ducking."
In an exclusive interview with The Daily Caller on Wednesday, the president blasted the Virginia proposal, and the comments made by Tran and Northam.
"I'm surprised that he did that, I've met him a number of times," Trump said of Northam. "I thought [Tran's statement] was terrible. Do you remember when I said Hillary Clinton was willing to rip the baby out of the womb? That's what it is, that's what they're doing, it's terrible."
The president added: "This is going to lift up the whole pro-life movemnet like maybe it's never been lifted up before. The pro-life movement is very much a 50-50, it's a very 50-50 issue, actually it's gained a point or two over the years...I think this will very much lif tup the issue because people have never thought of it in those terms."
Virginia’s effort comes after New York passed a bill last week that also loosened restrictions on abortions, and as New Mexico, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Virginia and Washington have either passed new laws expanding abortion access or are moving toward stripping old laws from the books that limit abortions.
Under New York's legislation, non-doctors are now allowed to conduct abortions and the procedure can be done until the mother’s due date if the woman’s health is endangered or if the fetus is not viable. The previous law only allowed abortions after 24 weeks of pregnancy if a woman’s life was at risk.
Meanwhile, in Ohio, a bill is pending that would make abortions illegal once a fetal heartbeat can be detected. Iowa passed a similar measure last spring.
Fox News’ Adam Shaw, Mike Emanuel and Alex Pappas contributed to this report.