The sacramental or positive good view of abortion lurks in the Democratic orthodoxy regarding “a woman’s right to choose,” but Democrats ambitious for national office have mostly remained content to keep the view implicit and to decry the difficulty of the “choice” in these terms even in the third trimester of pregnancy, as Hillary Clinton did in the third of her debates with candidate Trump in 2016. Candidate Trump effectively drew out the logic of this position.
Ramesh Ponnuru has followed developments closely over the years and has a good summary of where we are now in “The infanticide craze.” Ramesh emphasizes: “The Supreme Court’s abortion jurisprudence has for decades effectively forbidden any state from prohibiting abortion even late in pregnancy.” But “[s]upporters of the country’s expansive abortion regime now fear that the Supreme Court will retreat from it, either by declaring that the Constitution permits states to protect unborn children in general or by letting them offer more protection. That’s why they are pushing legislation in the states to codify that regime. It is an effort that is forcing supporters of abortion to be a little more candid about what they really want…”
Virginia presents as a case study. The subject is current in part thanks to Virginia Governor Ralph Northam. This past Wednesday on WTOP’s Ask The Governor, Northam defended Fairfax County Delegate Kathy Tran’s 40-week abortion bill (now tabled in subcommittee, thanks to Republicans in the Virginia House of Delegates). “If a mother is in labor,” Governor Northam helpfully explained, “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.” See the account, the links, the videos and the apologetics here on Vox. Northam’s defense of Tran’s bill seems like a notable moment on our downward path.