Virginia Democrat Defends Bill Allowing Abortion Up Until Birth

Virginia Delegate Kathy Tran (D-Springfield) admitted in testimony that her bill, the REPEAL Act (H.B. 2491), would allow abortion up until the very beginning of labor. While the bill was tabled — postponed for further debate — it enjoys the support of NARAL Pro-Choice America.

"Delegate Tran, how late in a pregnancy would your bill apply if a physician were simply willing to certify that the continuation of the pregnancy would impair the mental health of the woman?" Delegate Todd Gilbert (R-Woodstock) asks in a video of the testimony.

Tran refuses to answer directly, lamenting that medical professionals were unable to attend the hearing. Woodstock asks again, "How late in the third trimester could a physician perform an abortion if it would impair the mental health of the woman?"

"Or physical health," Tran cuts in.

"Okay. I’m talking about the mental health," Gilbert insists.

Tran admits that, under the bill, abortion would be legal "through the third trimester. The third trimester goes all the way up to 40 weeks."

Gilbert clarifies, "Okay but to the end of the third trimester?"

"Yep. I don’t think we have a limit in the bill," Tran responds.

Then Gilbert asks a very direct question. "Where it’s obvious that a woman is about to give birth, she has physical signs that she is about to give birth, would that still be a point at which she could request an abortion if she was so certified?" he asks. As Tran struggles to respond, the Republican adds, "She’s dilating," i.e., her cervix is expanding as in the very first stages of labor.

"Mr. Chairman, that would be a decision that the doctor, the physician and the woman would make at that point," Tran responds. Pressed again, she admits, "My bill would allow that, yes."

Tran has received a great deal of backlash over this testimony and over her bill, which would repeal several abortion restrictions. H.B. 2491 would allow abortions up until birth if a doctor certifies the necessity of the abortion for the mother's health. It would eliminate informed consent requirements, repeal abortion clinic health and safety standards, remove ultrasound requirements, and repeal Virginia's 24-hour waiting period.

On Monday, the subcommittee voted to "table" the bill, to postpone further debate on the legislation. The Resurgent's Gabriella Hoffman reported that S.B. 1451, an equivalent bill, died last week. Even so, H.B. 2491 enjoys the support of Gov. Ralph Northam (D-Va.).

Omar L. Hamada, a board-certified OB/GYN in Tennessee, tweeted that there is no medical condition that would require a woman to have an abortion in the third trimester of pregnancy.

Delegate Tran appeared to delete her Twitter account after conservatives discovered her testimony.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law a similarly broad abortion bill that legalizes abortion at any time during pregnancy if a physician considers the practice necessary for the mother's life or health. That law also explicitly removes any protection for unborn babies from the state's homicide laws. For the purpose of homicide laws, an unborn baby is not considered a "person," even if someone physically assaults a pregnant woman in order to kill her unborn baby.

Watch Tran's testimony below.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.