Earlier today I wrote about Virginia Delegate Kathy Tran’s video statement in which she attempted to clarify “misinformation” about the abortion bill she supported. According to Tran, she had been “surprised by the line of questioning” and wanted to make it know that her bill merely made it easier for women who want a 3rd-trimester abortion to get one. Notably absent from the clip was any apology or suggestion that she herself was the person giving the misinformation.
Also today, the Washington Post published a puff piece about Tran which was initially headlined, “Until this week, Del. Kathy Tran was known for nursing her daughter on the House floor. Now Republicans are calling her a baby killer.” I know that sounds like a satire of something a really biased left-wing outlet would publish but that was the headline they went with. Once again, the story isn’t Tran’s endorsement of abortion just prior to birth it was that conservatives had seized on her comments.
I guess even the Post has some sense of shame because this afternoon the paper completely rewrote the Tran puff-piece. It has a new headline: “Del. Kathy Tran was known for nursing her baby on the House floor. Now she’s getting death threats.” Still clueless and off topic but it’s slightly less obnoxious I guess. The story itself was rewritten and now includes Tran saying she “misspoke.”
“I wish that I was quicker on my feet and I wish that I was able to be more agile in that moment,” Tran, 41, a first-term Democrat from Fairfax County, said Thursday in a telephone interview. “And I misspoke, and I really regret that.”
When she was asked by a Republican lawmaker during the hearing whether the bill would allow for an abortion to occur when a woman is in labor and about to give birth, Tran said yes.
But on Thursday, Tran, a mother of four, corrected herself. “I should have said: ‘Clearly, no because infanticide is not allowed in Virginia, and what would have happened in that moment would be a live birth.’ ”
Did she misspeak? You can go ahead and watch the video of Tran’s statements. She is taking her time responding to the questions. She’s even being a bit argumentative. She knows what she’s saying. She misspoke in the narrow sense that all gaffes are misstatements, i.e. she accidentally told the truth.
And that’s why this morning she was still going with those answers when she recorded and published the video statement. If she had really misspoken it wouldn’t take her three days to figure that out.
Putting that aside, Tran’s new answer has a couple of obvious problems. First, as a purely political matter, she just said that her initial statement equates to “infanticide” which means everyone who was upset by her comments was right to be upset and everyone who defended those comments was wrong to defend them. Her supporters, including the Governor, have just been thrown under the bus.
Here’s the other big problem. It’s not clear that Tran’s statement is true. She wasn’t asked about aborting a child after birth. She was asked about aborting a child when the mother was about to give birth, say within the next 12-24 hours.
Maybe Tran is right. Maybe there’s something in the law she was promoting, a law which would roll back numerous abortion regulations, which would judge an unborn infant a live birth. Maybe, but I sort of doubt it. I think her first answer was probably the right one. Her bill does not take into account the viability of the baby and covers pregnancy all the way through 40 weeks. So that’s the second problem: Tran’s statement probably isn’t strictly true.
In any case, it’s amazing to see the way the Washington Post circles the wagons when someone accidentally tells the truth as Tran did here: