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Va. lawmaker defends abortion comments, blames ‘misinformation’

Del. Kathy Tran, D-Fairfax, listens to a speech on the floor of the House during session at the Capitol in Richmond, Va., Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019. Tran's abortion bill is erupting into a fierce partisan clash as video of a legislative hearing goes viral. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

WASHINGTON — A Northern Virginia lawmaker is defending herself after her comments on abortion at a hearing caused a firestorm.

In a video that went viral, Del. Kathy Tran of Fairfax County acknowledges her legislation, which failed to advance in the General Assembly, would allow abortions up until moments before birth.

On Thursday, she said what she described is already allowed under state law.

“Right now, women are able to access an abortion in the later stages of pregnancy under certain conditions with the approval of medical doctors,” she said in a video posted to Twitter. “I’ve done nothing to change that.” She said that her bill would instead allow women “to make these decisions and access these services in a timely manner.” She added that the same bill had been introduced in the General Assembly in previous years and was introduced in the state Senate this year.

Her legislation would reduce the number of doctors who would have to certify late-term abortions are needed from three to one. It would also delete the requirement that doctors determine that continuing a pregnancy would “substantially and irremediably” impair a woman’s health. Instead doctors would only have to certify that the woman’s health was impaired.
After the initial video got widespread attention, Tran was given a police escort in Richmond.

Gov. Ralph Northam had added fuel to the fire on WTOP’s “Ask the Governor,” describing a hypothetical situation where an infant who is severely deformed or unable to survive after birth could be left to die. That prompted accusations from prominent Republicans that he supports infanticide.

Northam, a pediatric neurologist, later tweeted “I have devoted my life to caring for children and any insinuation otherwise is shameful and disgusting.”

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