Planned Parenthood Is Fine with Infanticide, but a Racist Photo Is a Bridge Too Far?
In a matter of days, Planned Parenthood went from vociferously defending Gov. Ralph Northam (D-Va.) to demanding his resignation. Earlier this week, Northam defended infanticide — the killing of an infant who survives a late-term abortion. Planned Parenthood rushed to his defense. Yet mere hours after news of a racist photo broke, the abortion giant turned on one of its stalwart defenders.
"As the nation’s largest provider of reproductive health care, we have a responsibility to advocate for all patients, and to provide compassionate health care to all people who walk through our doors," Dr. Leana Wen, Planned Parenthood's president, wrote in a statement. "There is no place for Gov. Ralph Northam’s racist actions or language. He must step down as Governor."
She concluded with a rousing statement that seems even better fitted to the news of Northam's endorsement of infanticide. "The people of Virginia need to be able to trust that their leaders will fight for them, and support policies that protect their health, safety and value their communities. Gov. Northam’s actions have put that in doubt."
On Wednesday, Northam described the process of a third-trimester abortion. "If a mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen. The infant would be delivered," the governor said. "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 mother."
In other words, babies who survive an attempted abortion are not considered alive. They would be "resuscitated" if the mother and family say so, and the doctor and the mother would decide whether or not to let the baby live. Under this logic, abortion doctors should give a baby born alive "palliative care" to keep the baby "comfortable" while he or she dies, withholding the life-saving care normally afforded a newborn.
An uproar over these comments ensued. After all, Northam had called for a withholding of "health" and "safety" for human beings born alive who should be considered "patients" of any clinic in which they were born — even if the mother intended to have an abortion. Yet, rather than walking these comments back, the governor doubled down, dismissing news reports as "bad faith" interpretations.
His comments came after Delegate Kathy Tran (D-Springfield) testified about an abortion bill Northam wholeheartedly endorsed. Tran testified that under the bill, abortion would be legal up until the very beginning of labor, so long as one doctor (this could be the abortionist) decided that delivering the baby would be hazardous to the mother's life or health.
Planned Parenthood, rather than condemning the governor — as Leana Wen's statement suggests it should — stood by him and defended the bill, spreading blatant falsehoods about it.
"Let’s set the record straight: The idea that the proposed bill in VA somehow allows a woman to have an abortion up to or as she gives birth is flat-out untrue — it’s simply not how medical care works," Planned Parenthood tweeted in a thread responding to President Donald Trump's attacks on Northam and Tran.
The bill in Virginia very much does allow a woman to have an abortion up until the point of birth, however. As Delegate Tran testified, there is no limit.
National Review's David French did a deep dive into the bill and found it to be "just as barbaric as you've heard." Under current Virginia law, abortion after the second trimester can only occur if three separate doctors testify that "the continuation of the pregnancy is likely to result in the death of the woman or substantially and irremediably impair the mental or physical health of the woman." The proposed law allows only one doctor to make that judgment, and strikes out the words "substantially and irremediably."
Yet Planned Parenthood argued that requiring three doctors to certify this threat is "onerous and unnecessary."
Most Americans think life begins in the womb, and most Americans oppose third-trimester abortions. It is perfectly logical for the law to require a second and third opinion for something Americans think involves the intentional killing of a human baby.
In its thread, Planned Parenthood included a story arguing that Northam was not advocating for infanticide.
Yet Planned Parenthood's Virginia chapter went further to defend Northam. As late as Thursday, it posted a glowing tweet. "Dr. Northam is taking Virginia in the right direction. Conservative politicians want to ban abortion and take us backwards," Planned Parenthood's Virginia political action committee tweeted.
Two days later, the organization called on the governor to resign over his medical school yearbook photo that shows men in blackface and a Ku Klux Klan hood directly under his name. Northam apologized for the photo but then later argued that he was not in the picture.
The photo is disturbing on many levels. Even if Northam is not pictured in it — as he now claims, after having already apologized — he still presumably chose it for his page in the yearbook. This yearbook was from medical school, not high school or college. Finally, Northam won the 2017 governor's race against Republican Ed Gillespie after branding Gillespie a racist and tying him to the white nationalists in Charlottesville — despite the fact Gillespie immediately condemned the protesters.
Furthermore, Northam won after Planned Parenthood's Virginia PAC spent $3 million supporting his campaign. This helps explain the governor's advocacy for so radical an abortion bill, and Planned Parenthood's willingness to carry water for his infanticide comments.
Yet the abortion giant was more than willing to abandon its $3 million investment over an offensive yearbook photo.
Perhaps Planned Parenthood was yielding to peer pressure. 2020 candidates Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y), and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) called on Northam to resign, as did Julian Castro. MoveOn.org demanded his resignation, as did the NAACP. It certainly did not help that this news dropped on the first day of Black History Month.
Even so, it is remarkable that Planned Parenthood — both the national and the Virginia branches — stood by Ralph Northam, despite his infanticide comments, up until the moment he was connected to a racist photo.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.