Groups on both sides of the abortion issue reacted swiftly to President Trump’s provocative description in his State of the Union address Tuesday night of changes in abortion law in New York and Virginia.
The president said: “Lawmakers in New York cheered with delight upon the passage of legislation that would allow a baby to be ripped from the mother’s womb moments before birth. These are living, beautiful babies who will never get the chance to share their love and 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.”
The New York law, signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in January, specifically permits abortion after 24 weeks if the health or life of the mother is at risk or if the fetus is not viable. A Virginia law changed the standard for a late-term abortion of a nonviable fetus, requiring certification from one doctor rather than three. Gov. Ralph Northram said that a nonviable fetus would be “kept comfortable” if born alive, until its natural and inevitable death.
“Tonight’s medically inaccurate, inflammatory rhetoric is a reminder of why discussions about abortion care belong among women, their health care providers, and those they trust, not as the topic of a politically charged State of the Union address,” said the Very Rev. Katherine Ragsdale, interim president and CEO of the National Abortion Federation.
Even before Trump gave his speech, NARAL Pro-Choice America announced a press call for Wednesday morning “in response to Donald Trump’s anticipated attack on reproductive rights.”
Anti-abortion groups welcomed the president’s statement. “In his second State of the Union, President Trump showed why he may be the most pro-life president in American history,” said Catherine Glenn Foster, president and CEO of Americans United for Life. “It is increasingly and sadly clear that many on the left have no interest in defending the dignity and lives of the unborn, and so Americans who recognize and support the intrinsic value of every human life must shift our focus to state-level efforts where real change is possible to protect women and children, and where we are winning.”
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