The Late-Term Abortion Horror
Governor Northam and Delegate Tran Expose the Naked Truth
“Any country that accepts abortion, is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what it wants.” — St. Teresa of Calcutta
The first wave of outrage against New York’s extreme new law, permitting abortion until birth in some cases, had scarcely receded before a pro-abortion politician in Virginia stirred a new furor with remarks exposing the barbaric inhumanity of the Culture of Death.
During a debate over a proposed abortion bill, a delegate questioned Kathy Tran, one of the sponsors of the bill, about how late into the pregnancy the bill would allow abortions to take place. Tran, a Democrat from Northern Virginia, replied that the bill would allow abortion “through the third trimester.” She clarified that this would mean “all the way up to forty weeks.”
In reply, Delegate Todd Gilbert asked whether this would hold in the case “where it’s obvious a woman is about to give birth,” and is even “dilating.”
“My bill would allow that, yes,” responded Tran.
After a video of Tran’s statement went viral (and not because people thought it wonderful) Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam attempted to quell the growing outrage. In a radio interview the day after Tran’s remarks, Northam sought to portray the controversy as a tempest in a tea-pot. His astonishingly callous remarks, however, only added fuel to the fire.
The whole controversy, he said, was “overblown.” “[I]f a mother’s in labor,” he added, “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.”
To which one Virginia bishop responded, echoing the thoughts of just about anybody in the country with a heart: “Horrific. Outrageous. Vicious. … There is no place in a civil society for this sort of thought and action.”
After numerous commentators accused Northam of effectively endorsing “infanticide,” his PR team released a statement clarifying that Northam was only talking about cases when the baby was “non-viable” or suffered from “severe fetal abnormalities.” Predictably, however, this did nothing to quell the outrage. After all, why are born disabled babies any less deserving of care than healthy babies?
The Pro-Abortion Movement Exposed
What happened in New York and Virginia these past two weeks is, quite obviously, horrifying. However, there may be a silver lining. Huge swathes of the “mushy middle” in America have for far too long managed to largely ignore the whole abortion issue, shrugging their shoulders and leaving it to legislators, activists, and endorsing the pro-abortion line that the issue is “between women and their doctors.” Now, however, they have been forced to come face to face with the gruesome reality of abortion, and the unconscionable extremism of professional pro-abortion activists.
“What my Democratic colleagues are most concerned about is what this moment actually reveals,” said Del. Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah), the Virginia House majority leader, in response to Delegate Tran’s comments. “It was a moment of unbridled honesty about their agenda and their legislation and what it actually does.”
Northam’s and Tran’s brutal honesty caused such a national uproar that even President Trump waded in. “I thought it was terrible,” Trump said about Northam’s remarks. “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.”
Many people are shocked by this naked exposition of the true depravity of the pro-abortion mentality. They are astonished that anyone could speak so cavalierly and unfeelingly about killing fully-formed late-term babies. They are also amazed that Northam, Tran, and pro-abortion media seem so stunned by the outrage that greeted these extreme abortion bills and statements.
It goes without saying that people are right to be shocked by these things. And yet, at the same time, if these same people had been paying any attention to the abortion debate, they would not be shocked.
After all, pro-abortion activists have long lionized late-term abortionists who openly and proudly advertise their willingness to perform abortions into the third trimester. A recent documentary, “After Tiller,” profiled four of these abortionists, portraying them as folk heroes. The film premiered at the Sundance festival, where the four abortionists walked the red carpet like movie stars.
One of those abortionists was Leroy Carhart. In 1997, during public testimony under oath, Carhart described, in excruciating detail, how he performs those late-term abortions. He described how he “grasps” the limbs of fully-formed, unborn babies, and how he then twists the forceps until the arm or leg is ripped out of its socket. Once the baby has been dismembered, he will then crush the skull and “aspirate” (or vacuum) out the brain. During this process, Carhart stated, the baby is still alive.
Get that? Carhart is describing the systematic torture and dismemberment of fully-formed babies, babies that unquestionably are of sufficient age to feel pain. Mothers and fathers in obstetric wards in hospitals around the world are cradling newborn babies of precisely the same age as the babies that Carhart is unapologetically dismembering.
Carhart’s testimony isn’t secret. It’s publicly available. It was given during a recorded hearing. Other abortionists have said similar things. Indeed, one needn’t look very far to find even worse – tales of abortionists actively killing newborn babies, or the enthusiastic support expressed by some of the most powerful politicians for partial-birth abortion.
So why are we so shocked now?
Pro-Abortion Activists Are Terrified
While Northam, Tran, and the organizations who support them like NARAL and Planned Parenthood are furiously arguing that the New York and Virginia laws are necessary to protect women’s “right to choose,” polls show that Americans are overwhelmingly opposed to third-trimester abortions. One 2018 poll found that only 14% of respondents think abortion should be legal in the third trimester. That included a mere 18% of Democrats.
In other words, these laws are wildly out of step with mainstream opinion. So why are pro-abortion politicians introducing them?
The fact is (and here is some more of that “silver lining”), pro-abortion politicians and activists are terrified. They are terrified that, with President Trump having now appointed two justices to the Supreme Court, the court may soon overturn Roe v. Wade. Overturning that decision would return the abortion issue to the states, allowing individual states to set their own laws.
In their fear and desperation, abortion activists are in the midst of an all-out push to buttress legal abortion by passing the most permissive – or rather, extreme – state-based abortion laws possible. Doing so ensures that in those states, the overturn of Roe v. Wade would have no impact on abortion. Extreme abortion bills introduced in Vermont and Rhode Island would follow in New York’s footsteps.
However, it’s beginning to look like this desperate effort may well backfire.
Pro-abortion legislators and activists have responded to widespread outrage these past two weeks by claiming that late-term abortions only ever take place in cases where the mother’s life is at risk, or where the baby won’t survive being born. In other words, in rare, extreme cases. But – people are rightly asking – if that’s the case, then why are they proactively eliminating any kind of meaningful restriction on when such abortions can take place?
The New York law, after all, dramatically reduced the requirements to be met in order for a late-term abortion, requiring only some vague threat to the “health” of the mother. The Virginia law would have ensured that only one, instead of three, physicians are needed to sign off on a third-trimester abortion.
As David French noted at the National Review: “Under the [Virginia] bill’s actual text, virtually any claim of impairment would suffice to meet the act’s requirements. Anxiety? Depression? The conventional physical challenges of post-partum recovery? Any of those things could justify taking the life of a fully formed, completely viable, living infant.”
Very, very few Americans are comfortable with this kind of extremism. And now, thanks to Northam and Tran, they know that there is an effort afoot to make it far, far easier to abort babies for any and all reasons even up to the point when the mother is giving birth.
In an op-ed, Vice President Mike Pence suggested that these extreme new bills are not the beginning of some great pro-abortion victory. Instead, they are the last desperate acts of a pro-abortion movement so steeped in its inhuman extremism that it failed to see how the country is trending pro-life. “So even in this dark moment in our nation’s history, Americans should take heart,” wrote Pence. “The New York and Virginia bills aren’t some bold departure into a brave new world. They are the last gasp of a dying movement that stands in stark and irreconcilable contrast with our nation’s timeless founding principles.”
The outrage that has greeted the New York law, and Northam’s and Tran’s remarks, suggest that Pence may be right. I pray he is right. And I pray that those outraged by the notion of third-trimester abortions will have their consciences awakened to the horror of all abortions. And more importantly, that they will be motivated to do something to end the abortion holocaust.
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Father Shenan J. Boquet was ordained in 1993 and is a priest of the Houma-Thibodaux Roman Catholic Diocese in Louisiana, his home state, where he served before joining HLI as its President in August 2011. Father Boquet earned a BA from Saint Joseph Seminary College, a Master of Divinity (MDiv) from Notre Dame Seminary Graduate School of Theology, a Certification Program in Health Care Ethics from the National Catholic Bioethics Center, and a Master of Science in Bioethics (MSBe) from the University of Mary in Bismarck. In 2018, Father Boquet was awarded an honorary visiting professorship by the Benedict XVI Catholic University in Trujillo, Peru. He is available for interviews and bookings on behalf of HLI by emailing email@example.com.