Accomack residents react to comments made by Governor Northam

ACCOMACK Co., Va. – Recent comments made by Governor Ralph Northam have reignited the abortion debate in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Thursday, we asked residents of Accomack County for their reactions and thoughts to the comments.

Governor Northam’s comments came on WTOP’s “Ask The Governor” program, when he was discussing a bill that would loosen restrictions on third-trimester abortions.

“When we talk about third trimester abortions, these are done with the consent of 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 nonviable. 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 I think this is 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 this is why, Julie, 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.”

We spoke with a Saxis resident who says she disagrees with abortions after the first term.

“I am 20-weeks pregnant, and so far I have had all of my testing done,” said Megan, refusing to give a last name. “There’s no reason after 20 weeks you couldn’t figure something like that out.”

Another local, who describes herself as pro-life, said she thought it was wrong of Governor Northam to say what he said about late-term abortions. But says she agrees with the procedure if it’s early in the pregnancy, and involves health risks.

“I think it should end at the end of the first trimester, and for only medical necessity,” said Saxis resident Katie Stitely.

Others say they see nothing wrong with the comments.

“I think a woman should have the right to make her own decisions on her own body. As should everybody else,” said Louis Woolford, of New Church.

The father of four said if this decision was facing his wife, he would want her to have the right to decide for herself.

Governor Northam reacted to the outcry on Twitter late Wednesday night, sending out a tweet that said “I have devoted my life to caring for children and any insinuation otherwise is shameful and disgusting.”

Under current Virginia law, abortions in the third trimester require a doctor and two physicians to determine whether or not continuing the pregnancy would result in the woman’s death, or substantially impair her mental or physical health.

The bill proposed would require only one doctor to make that determination.

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