She’s a writer for The New York Times — you know, that New York Times. And even she is crying foul on the way many in the media have handled comments about abortion made a year ago by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat.
Last week, a writer for the news gathering outlet Mediaite rebuked President Donald Trump for the “dangerous lie” he told during his address Friday at the March for Life rally in Washington, D.C.
What was the “dangerous lie?” Trump reminded those attending the pro-life event that the Virginia governor said in 2019 he supported legislation that would allow a mother and her abortionist to “execute a baby after birth.”
Tommy Christopher, the writer for Mediaite, did semantic gymnastics to accuse Trump of lying last week. He’s not alone. Writers for PolitiFact and Snopes have done the exact same thing. All three have called bunk on Trump’s words by pointing out that Northam didn’t specifically use the word “execute.”
Elaina Plott, a national political reporter for The New York Times, is calling out the revisionist history: “Why do we continue to pretend Ralph Northam didn’t say this?”
When we strip away the political parlance that made Northam’s words palatable — when we look just at the bones of the language he used — that is, in fact, exactly what the governor was advocating.
Northam made the comments in late January 2019 during a WTOP radio interview, where he defended a since-failed piece of legislation that would have made it easier for pregnant women to obtain abortions at increasingly later stages of pregnancy.
Democratic delegate Kathy Tran was the lead sponsor of the bill, which would have made abortion legal up to the point of birth, so long as the abortionist agreed not going through with the procedure would harm the mother’s mental health.
Asked to explain Tran’s bill and his support of it, Northam said:
When we talk about third-trimester abortions, these are done with the consent of obviously the mother, with the consent of the physician — more than one physician, by the way — and it’s done in cases where there may be severe deformities. There may be a fetus that’s non-viable.
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 the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother.
It bears repeating. Northam said: “The infant would be kept comfortable … and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother” about the infant’s life.
No, the governor didn’t say anything about “executing” newborn babies. But he did leave open the possibility that, after an infant is delivered, doctors and the child’s mother could allow the baby to die due to lack of care. And Northam condoned that option.
As Southern Baptist ethicist Dr. Russell Moore said in the immediate aftermath of his comments, Northam was advocating “infanticide.” You can criticize Trump and his often hyperbolic language, but there’s no way to avoid the grotesque reality of what the governor said last year.