Women’s rights advocates are either silent or all in on aggressive new state abortion laws that in some cases allow termination of fetuses moments before birth, despite polls that show more than 80 percent of the public is against the practice.
Fox News contacted more than half a dozen women’s and abortion-rights groups in the wake of laws either passed or under consideration in New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and New Mexico that allow abortions even when a pregnant woman is dilated and on the brink of giving birth. Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, a pediatric physician by trade, appeared to characterize a proposal he supports as allowing termination of a baby after it had actually been delivered, a shocking remark that drew only silence from advocacy groups typically aligned with the pro-choice movement. Northam has said those comments are "mischaracterized."
“We cannot overstate how important it is for all New Yorkers to have the ability to control their own bodies and determine their own destinies, ” Robin Chappelle Golston, state Planned Parenthood CEO, said in celebration of New York's new law. “As we continue to face challenges on the federal level, it is paramount that New York is the beacon and state model of what reproductive health care should be.”
The Reproductive Health Act calls abortion "one of the safest medical procedures performed in the United States."
The New York law allowing for an abortion performed by non-doctors up until the point of birth in many cases, which opponents say goes way beyond Roe v. Wade. Advocates point to the life of the mother, but the law, which is similar to the one in Virginia, expands the option of terminating the child's life if the mother's health is determined to be at risk by a health professional, which opponents argue could mean abortion for almost any reason.
But Elisabeth Smith, chief counsel for state policy and advocacy for The Center for Reproductive Rights, told Fox News the law has been "grossly mischaracterized."
"The truth is that this bill regulates abortion as health care, not as a criminal act as it was previously. The bill ensures that qualified health care professionals can provide safe abortion care, including after the 24th week of pregnancy if a woman’s health or life is in danger or if the fetus is not viable," Smith said. "Every pregnancy is different and requires different care—legislators should not tie the hands of medical professionals.”
Virginia Democratic Del. Kathy Tran, one of the sponsors of the state's The Repeal Act, which was tabled but would've removed all restrictions on third-trimester abortions, was asked if a woman about to give birth and dilating could still request an abortion. She said yes, but apologized after receiving backlash and then said she never read the actual text.
Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam, a former pediatric neurologist, pushed even further, saying that if an infant -- deemed "non-viable" or "severely disabled" -- is delivered, the child should only be resuscitated if that's what the mother and family desired. His comment drew a quick rebuke from Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., the author of the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, who said the governor should "get the hell out of office."
“The comments the governor of Virginia made were about fourth-term abortions,” Sasse said on Fox News’ “The Daily Briefing with Dana Perino.” “That’s not abortion, that’s infanticide.”
Rhode Island introduced a bill of the same name of New York that would lift abortion restrictions on the books, including one that requires a husband's notification.
The Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the largest abortion provider in the nation, expects over half the states to push for policies protecting and expanding abortion or expanding birth-control access as abortion proponents fear Roe v. Wade could be overturned by the newly cemented Supreme Court and policies coming from the Trump administration.
The Women's March published the "2019 Women's Agenda," which included a group of 70 leaders in the movement to come up with a gameplan for the next two years. It is supported by the National Organization for Women (NOW), National Nurses United, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, UFCW Women's Network, and other groups.
In their agenda, they push for "ending violence against women" and supporting late-term abortion, which opponents argue is hypocritical, pointing out that young girls in their mother's wombs can feel and respond to pain at that point.
According to a Gallup poll from 2018, over 80 percent of Americans believe abortion should be illegal in the third trimester, while only 13 percent think it should be legal.
Alison Centofante, the director of external affairs for Live Action, a pro-life non-profit that seeks to expose the abortion industry, told Fox News that groups like Planned Parenthood and NARAL have been pushing for abortion on demand without restrictions for years.
"We did not get here in a vacuum," Centofante said. "This push for abortion on demand is strategic and funded with our tax dollars. Every day we wait to defund Planned Parenthood, they receive another $1.5 million from taxpayers, kill another 912 innocent children, and champion abortion until the moment of birth."