By now, Virginians have come to understand that the abortion industry can look at a beating heart, watch a preborn child move his/her arms and legs in the womb, and still deny that it is a human. While their “blob of tissue” explanation has been scientifically shattered, they have been relentless in their denial of life, including an aggressive political campaign to ensure that women who have an ultrasound are prevented from viewing it.  However, it’s still a little shocking to watch abortion sympathizers look at a human body outside the womb and still claim it is not a human being. Among those who are that extreme are several Virginia politicians, namely Governor Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring. 

Last month, Judge Chafin of the Franklin County Circuit Court issued an opinion confirming that a 30-32 week old stillborn child whose body was secretly discarded by its mother, Katherine Dellis, is in fact a human body and that its mother had therefore violated the law against concealing a dead body

As I read the judge’s decision, I was, at the time, impressed that despite AG Herring’s deep political ties to the abortion industry, that his office had upheld the law and legally defended this stillborn child as a human being for the purposes of prosecution. 

However, within just 3 short weeks of the judge’s ruling, Governor Northam requested an official opinion on the matter from the Attorney General’s Office in order to create the opportunity for Herring to reverse his office’s legal work and align themselves with the abortion industry. Making an opposite argument as they had in the court case, this new AG Opinion draws the conclusion that a “fetus,” even one that has been delivered and is outside the womb at 30+ weeks, is not a dead body.  On Friday, Governor Northam took the extraordinary step of officially pardoning Katherine Dellis. 

As one who has experienced loss from an ectopic pregnancy and who routinely shares the tears of mothers who have lost children through miscarriage and stillbirth, this official opinion is not only legally and morally wrong, it is inhuman and uncompassionate. These women have lost real human beings and those who have delivered a stillborn child know exactly how human their child was. 

His opinion and the subsequent pardoning fly in the face of the fact that the Virginia Code goes to great lengths to address fetal death and even includes abortion in that definition in certain Code sections.

As I told Lawyer’s Weekly and the Washington Post when asked to comment on the unusual situation, Virginians should be alarmed that Attorney General Herring and Governor Northam have once again shown loyalty to their political base, not the law. Attorney General Herring ran on a platform of de-politicizing the office, but during his tenure he has done just the opposite.  

Virginians’ representatives have articulated in statutes what human life is and our Attorney General must get his understanding of life from the law, not the abortion industry. Letting those who kill unborn children in the womb define who is and is not a dead body outside the womb is beyond unacceptable.