Virginia Governor Says He Doesn’t Regret What He Said--or Way He Said It—About Letting Born Baby Die

By Terence P. Jeffrey | January 31, 2019 | 5:31pm EST
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (Screen Capture)

Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam of Virginia, who is a pediatric neurologist, said in a press conference on Thursday that he does not regret what he said yesterday about letting a born baby die or the way he said it.

“Do you regret what you said yesterday or the way you said it?” a reporter asked Northam.

“No I don’t,” Northam responded.

On WTOP radio on Wednesday morning, Northam was asked by reporter Julie Carey about an exchange that had happened the day before in committee of the Virginia House of Delegates.

Here is the exchange as transcribed by’s Emily Ward yesterday:

Carey: “...T]here was a very contentious committee hearing yesterday, when Fairfax County Delegate Kathy Tran made her case for lifting restrictions on third-trimester abortions, as well as other restrictions now in place, and she was pressed by a Republican delegate about whether her bill would permit an abortion even as a woman is, essentially, dilating--ready to give birth--and she answered that it would permit an abortion at that stage of labor. Do you support her measure? And explain her answer.”

Northam: “You know, I wasn’t there, Julie, and I certainly can’t speak for Delegate Tran, but I will tell you, one, the first thing I would say is, this is why decisions such as this should be made by providers, physicians, and the mothers and fathers that, that are involved.

“There are, you know, when we talk about third trimester abortions, these are done with the consent of, obviously, the mother, with the consent of the physicians – more than one physician, by the way – and it’s done in cases where there may be severe deformities, there may be a fetus that’s non-viable.

“So, in this particular example, if a mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen. 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 mother.

“So, so, I think this was really blown out of proportion, but, again, we want the government not to be involved in these types of decisions. We want the decision to be made by the mothers and their providers, and, and this is why, Julie, that legislators, most of whom are men, by the way, shouldn’t be telling a woman what she should and shouldn’t be doing with her body.”

Carey: “And do you think multiple physicians should have weigh in, as is currently required? She’s trying to lift that requirement.”

Northam: “Well, I think it’s always good to get a second opinion, and for, for at least two providers to be involved in that decision, because these decisions shouldn’t be taken lightly, and so, you know, I would certainly support more than one provider.”

Following Northam’s explanation of the procedure he thinks should be followed in allowing a born baby to die, there was outrage from Americans who do not believe a born baby should be allowed to die.

For example, as reported by, Sen. Ben Sasse (R.-Neb.) said the following: “This is morally repugnant. In just a few years pro-abortion zealots went from ‘safe, legal, and rare’ to ‘keep the newborns comfortable while the doctor debates infanticide.’ I don’t care what party you’re from — if you can’t say that it’s wrong to leave babies to die after birth, get the hell out of public office.”

This afternoon, Northam held a press conference with other Democratic Virginia politicians to defend himself. (A video of the press conference can be seen by clicking here.)

The reporter who asked Northam the last question in the press conference asked the governor if he regretted what he said on WTOP or how he said it. The governor said: “No, I don’t.”


Here is a transcript of the full exchange between that reporter and Northam:

Reporter: “Some members of your party have said privately that, and maybe one publicly, that your comments yesterday could have been more precise, or they weren’t helpful and that Delegate Tran’s defense of her bill could have been done in a better way. Do you think, do you regret what you said yesterday or the way you said it?

Northam: “No I don’t. And, you know, Alan, I appreciate the question. I’m a physician. I am also the governor. But when I am asked questions a lot of times it is put in the context of being a physician, again, realizing you know how we approach, how we manage patients, how we offer advice and counsel. And, so, no, I don’t have any regrets. But I do find, you know, that how my comments, I did answer that question, I regret that those comments have been mischaracterized. The personal insults toward me I really find disgusting. So, I, again, as I said in my comments just earlier. We can agree to disagree, Alan, but let’s be civil about it.”

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