WASHINGTON – Some Democratic lawmakers have rejected President Trump’s call for a ban on late-term abortion in his State of the Union address.
“These are living, feeling, beautiful, babies who will never get the chance to share their love and their dreams with the world. And then, we had the case of the governor of Virginia where he stated he would execute a baby after birth,” Trump said in his address last month.
“To defend the dignity of every person, I am asking Congress to pass legislation to prohibit the late-term abortion of children who can feel pain in the mother’s womb. Let us work together to build a culture that cherishes innocent life. And let us reaffirm a fundamental truth: all children – born and unborn – are made in the holy image of God,” he added.
Trump was referring to a recent interview that Washington radio station WTOP conducted with Gov. Ralph Northam (D-Va.) in which he discussed late-term abortions.
“It’s done in cases where there may be severe deformities, there may be a fetus that is nonviable. So in this particular example, if a mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen,” Northam said. “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 mothers.”
Following the speech, Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D-N.M.), assistant Democratic leader, was asked if he would support a 16-week or 20-week ban on abortions. Lujan accused Trump of playing to his base with his late-term abortion comments during the State of the Union.
“Look, politicians need to stay out of the decisions when it comes to medical decisions made by women, when it comes to reproductive health especially. What the president should be talking about is what can we do to make sure we have robust healthcare services across America and rather than working with Republican counterparts to take away protections from people with pre-existing conditions or stripping away the Affordable Care Act – what can we do to make sure that people have access to care,” Lujan said during an interview on Capitol Hill.
“Again, I don’t know why the president continues to play to his base. This is another example of where he wanted to go and he’s clearly going to continue to go there. This is more about his election efforts than it is about caring about what we need to be doing in the country, and again reminding politicians to stay out of the decisions with women when it comes to reproductive health,” he added.
Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) shared a similar position on late-term abortions.
“I continue to support women’s health. I have a 100 percent voting record on pro-choice issues and that’s what I continue to believe,” Lieu said.
Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Miss.) told PJM he supports a ban on late-term abortion.
“I believe life begins at conception and I don’t believe in abortion, period, so anything that restricts abortion I would be supportive of,” Luetkemeyer said on Capitol Hill. “I truly do not believe in abortion at any point. The right-to-life folks say to save the life of the mother and incest, things like that, but those are such miniscule things that happen anymore in society that I think it is almost an across-the-board just no, period.”
Rep. Bill Foster (D-Ill.) was asked if he would oppose a 16- or 20-week ban on late-term abortions.
“I view Roe v. Wade as settled law and it should remain that way,” Foster replied. “We’re far better off as a nation if Roe v. Wade remains settled law.”
On Feb. 25, the Senate voted 53-44 for a bill that would have required doctors to try to save the lives of infants born alive during abortions. The legislation from Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) needed 60 votes.