Now that the dust has mostly settled on the controversies surrounding Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, it is appropriate to examine those controversies. Gov. Northam’s terrible week started last Wednesday, when he defended Virginia’s attempt at winning the race for the most radical abortion law. Northam took it a step further, saying “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 was really blown out of proportion.” In non-politician language, Northam is saying that a baby who was born could be subject to a “discussion” about killing that baby. He then clarified his statement, saying that “No woman seeks a third trimester abortion except in the case of tragic or difficult circumstances, such as a nonviable pregnancy or in the event of severe fetal abnormalities, and the governor’s comments were limited to actions physicians would take in the event that a woman in those circumstances went into labor.”
Uhhhhhhhhhh… excuse me? Did I just read that right? Did the governor of one of the biggest and most important states in our Union just say that killing a baby who was born alive and on the table was a “discussion” that could be had, and then defended himself by targeting people with “severe fetal abnormalities”, as if that was supposed to make it okay. That is the most offensive part about this whole thing.
Governor Northam thought that it made it better to say that he was targeting people with fetal abnormalities. We don’t know exactly what kind of abnormalities he was talking about, but I could be on his hit list. I was shocked and appalled by this whole event and thought that Governor Northam could not be more morally repugnant. Turns out, at least according to the mainstream media, that I was wrong. On Friday, Governor Northam’s medical school yearbook from 1984 was leaked. On Northam’s page there was a picture of someone posing in blackface next to someone in a KKK hood, presumably one of those people being Northam. Northam apologized for the photo, and then he had an incredibly bizarre press conference on Saturday where he denied being in the photo, even though he had said the previous day that it was him, but he admitted to wearing blackface to dress up as Michael Jackson for a dance contest. It was a very strange press conference.
Throughout this whole thing, the media was outraged. Calls for Northam’s resignation poured in from media figures and Democratic presidential candidates. Anyone who was anyone was calling on him to resign and were making extremely strongly worded statements. Mind you, all of this is about the photo, not advocating for “post-birth abortion” of babies with fetal abnormalities. In the case of the infanticide comments, the only notable calls for Governor Northam’s resignation came from Republican United States Senators Marco Rubio and Ben Sasse. Ten Democratic Senators denied hearing Governor Northam’s comments when they were asked about it. When I first read that, I didn’t believe that. I thought the Senators were lying because I thought everyone had heard those comments. When I thought about it further, my original thought was probably not true. There were some networks that either failed to cover that story entirely, or showed an edited version of those comments, which is unacceptable for something that was that horrific and offensive to so many people. To be clear, I believe the photo, assuming it was Northam in the picture, to be morally repugnant and unacceptable. The historical context of blackface and KKK hoods bring up a time where violent racism was the norm, a time that we do not want to go back to. However, saying that killing babies with fetal abnormalities is even more unacceptable. Maybe this is just me because I was personally affected by a fetal abnormality, but I find Governor Northam’s comments extremely offensive to me and people like me, more offensive than a picture, even a grotesque, awful picture, that Governor Northam took 35 years ago. I wonder if people who are more personally affected by the horrific stereotypes perpetuated by blackface or the violence signified by a KKK hood disagree with my perspective. I generally think that saying that certain people can be killed is worse than even the worst picture you could imagine. I don’t object to the calls for Governor Northam’s resignation over the picture, I just wish they had come earlier.