Legislate in haste, repent at leisure. Or was something worse afoot in Virginia than just run-of-the-mill lawmaker sloth? One co-sponsor of the now-failed bill that would have allowed already-born infants to die of neglect now says she simply “did not exercise due diligence” before supporting the bill. Dawn Adams, the Democrat from Richmond, wrote in a newsletter to constituents that “I made a mistake”:
Del. Dawn Adams, D-Richmond, said she “did not exercise due diligence” before co-sponsoring the abortion legislation with Del. Kathy Tran, D-Fairfax. Tran became the focus of a social media firestorm this week after Republicans circulated video of her saying the bill would allow abortions up until the moment of birth if one doctor certified that the mother’s physical or mental health was at risk.
“I made a mistake, and all I know to do is to admit it, tell the truth, and let the chips fall where they may,” said Adams, a first-term delegate who won a close upset victory in 2017 in her suburban district and could face a competitive re-election campaign this year.
Though other Democrats are standing by Tran, the response from Adams is the strongest public showing of regret from a lawmaker associated with the abortion bill, which has already been defeated.
In her confessional, Adams implies that she didn’t read the bill at all, emphasis in original:
I am sorry that I did not exercise due diligence before this explosion of attention; had I done so, I would not have co-patroned, and here is why: I thought this bill sought to solely reverse the onerous additions to the code made in 2012 by HB462. While it did, it sought to do much more. Had I researched each line of removed language, I would have seen that, and known that there was more research to be done.
How much “research” would have been necessary, though? David French looks at the plain text of the bill and sees “infanticide” and “barbarism” clearly enough:
Rather than rely on tweets — or even the testimony of the bill’s sponsor — let’s look at the bill text itself. Thanks to the strike-feature on the Virginia website, you can see exactly how the bill would change current law, and those changes are chilling:
The bill reduces the number of doctors required to certify the alleged medical need for an abortion from three to one, and — critically — eliminates any required showing of severity before the doctor and mother can determine that the birth would impair her physical or mental health. Under the bill’s actual text, virtually any claim of impairment would suffice to meet the act’s requirements. Anxiety? Depression? The conventional physical challenges of post-partum recovery? Any of those things could justify taking the life of a fully formed, completely viable, living infant.
That’s infanticide. That’s barbarism.
Overlooking that isn’t a “lack of research.” It’s evidence that Adams rubber-stamps legislation produced by special-interest groups. Why didn’t Adams object when Tran explicitly stated that the bill would allow for abortion up to the moment of birth, which has never been the case in Virginia and clearly was more than just a reversal of Republican restrictions? And Adams should know, being a registered nurse:
Heartbreaking… This isn't in New York, this isn't in California, this happened just this week right here in Virginia. @VAHouseDems proposed legislation to provide abortions up to just seconds before that precious child takes their first breath. Watch for yourself. pic.twitter.com/AxgPVyI6kU
— VA House GOP (@vahousegop) January 29, 2019
That didn’t trip any of Adams’ alarm bells because she wasn’t alarmed at the prospect … until it blew up in her face. Now she’s backpedaling and doing a mea culpa over a lack of “due diligence.” Basically, she’s sorry she got caught mindlessly carrying water for the abortion industry. As did most of her Democratic colleagues, including Tran.
Even so, Adams’ retreat complicates matters for Virginia Democrats and their allies in the media, who have made the story into a “Republicans pounce!” narrative. Last night, Governor Ralph Northam called criticism over his infanticide-endorsing remarks “shameful and disgusting” because he has “devoted my life to caring for children” — those that get past the abortion abattoir, anyway. Virginia AG followed up a couple of hours later to accuse Donald Trump and “Republicans in Richmond” of “trying to spread lies” about Tran and Northam.
The Washington Post ran two stories on the issue yesterday (in their Local Politics section!). See if you pick up a theme here:
- Abortion bill draws GOP outrage against Va. Gov. Northam, Democratic legislators
- Va. Gov. Northam faces fierce conservative backlash over late term abortion bill
Oh those conservatives and Republicans — always pouncing! Only now, with the bill’s co-sponsor acknowledging that Republicans are right about the bill, it becomes a lot harder for other Democrats to paint this as a far-right problem. It might force other frosh Democrat delegates have to make their own mea culpas over this bill, and further isolate the few ghoulish defenders of infanticide and barbarism. Or so we can hope, anyway.
By the way, Wesley Smith writes at NRO, we might need to take a closer look at what’s happening in Vermont. A new bill there establishes a “fundamental right to abortion without even the weak limits found in the Virginia bill. Looks like more pouncing will be necessary.