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Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin stood and cheered a call to ban late-term abortions during President Donald Trump’s Tuesday night State of the Union address.
Manchin was one of the few Democratic legislators attending the event who applauded the president’s call to action. Republican lawmakers stood and clapped vigorously, while a majority of Democrats remained in their seats.
According to White House reported Philip Wegmann, Manchin said he stood because “Late term abortions are just horrific … totally just wrong.”
“There could be no greater contrast to the beautiful image of a mother holding her infant child than the chilling displays our nation saw in recent days,” Trump said, pointing to the passage and introduction of extreme abortion legislation. Among those displays is “the case of the Governor of Virginia (who) … basically stated he would execute a baby after birth,” Trump continued, referring to comments Virginia Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam made Wednesday appearing to condone infanticide.
Manchin refused, however, to condemn Northam’s comments. “I haven’t seen anything. I’ve been in retreats. Obviously I just got out of a meeting,” he told The Daily Caller News Foundation after he was asked for a reaction to Northam’s remarks.
“To defend the dignity of every person, I am asking the Congress to pass legislation to prohibit the late-term abortion of children who can feel pain in the mother’s womb,” Trump said. His remarks refer to the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, introduced Monday by Nebraska Republican Sen. Ben Sasse. The bill would mandate that babies born in abortion clinics be immediately given medical attention and taken to the hospital.
A few days prior to the State of the Union, a majority of Democrats on Capitol Hill were not willing or unable to discuss bills allowing abortion until birth.
Trump’s remarks come amid a number of proposals to expand abortion access in Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Maine, New Mexico and Maryland.
New York passed the Reproductive Health Act Jan. 22 codifying a woman’s right to abort under state law and allowing women to have abortions after 24 weeks in cases where “there is an absence of fetal viability, or at any time when necessary to protect a patient’s life or health,” according to the legislation. Notably, “heath” is not defined within the legislation.