The Virginia abortion bill failed, but the time for indifference is over

There are moments of clarity in all of our lives, and hopefully you experience such a thing more than just once. On Wednesday afternoon, driving to my home in Raleigh, North Carolina I was listening to a recap of the week's news on the radio. What I heard was that a lawmaker in Virginia had brought forward a bill to expand abortion access and remove restrictions on the procedure currently in place in the state. The reporter said "you'd expect this sort of legislation in New York or California, but it seems out of character for a state like Virginia."

My fingers tightened around the steering wheel.

Audio played of Kathy Tran, a delegate from Fairfax County, explaining the substance of the Repeal Act to her colleagues on the floor. I don't know what about this moment or this bill drew out such a strong reaction from me. After all, the state of New York just passed a very similar measure only a week ago and I went on with my day.

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My vision blurred and stomach tightened. Something was wrong and could feel the most subtle shockwaves going up my arms to my neck. Discomfort. Rapid breathing.

I got through the next stop light and pulled over the car. Turned it off and just sat there for a few minutes, focused on my breath. I have never experienced such a thing. It was clarity. The realization of a lie.

If you're reading this, you likely know the backstory. Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam recently joined WTOP radio in Washington D.C. and was asked about the abortion bill dubbed the Repeal Act, which had been causing a stir in the state for the better part of a week. One of his answers was:

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.

The bill, sponsored by Delegate Kathy Tran of Fairfax County, would allow women to get abortions up until the point of birth — if their physical or mental health are considered at risk. To put a fine point on it, Tran was questioned about her bill earlier this week and expressed that it offered "no limits" on when the abortion could be carried out, including when the the mother is dilating and about to give birth. It reduces the number of doctors required to approve termination from three to one, and it lowers the bar significantly for the severity of the health risk. Now we are talking about the impairment of mental health in addition to the mother's physical health. What does that even mean?

Well, vaguery is the point. Something I didn't see coming in the abortion debate, but pro-lifers probably saw a million miles back, was that this was always headed toward the realm of the subjective. The first time I had the slightest thought that the case for abortion might expand to having virtually no boundaries, was when the discourse on college campuses began to blend mental and physical harm into a single thing. It's strange, but an op-ed in the New York Times in 2017 titled When Is Speech Violence? was actually my first hint. The piece described the science behind stress, and how challenges to the nervous system in the form of hurtful or abusive speech can cause long-lasting physical harm. I remember thinking to myself about the talking point "in cases of physical harm to the mother…" and then moved on with my day.

On the question of abortion, I've failed the test each time that I can think of, for a litany of reasons that boil down to cowardice.

I believe in God. I believe God tests us daily in our lives. On the question of abortion, I've failed the test each time that I can think of, for a litany of reasons that boil down to cowardice. My wife and I are the proud parents of an 8-year old girl. She's the light of our lives and brilliant — and I will likely never forgive myself for how I reacted when my college girlfriend, now wife, came forward as pregnant. I was a 20 year old "pro-life", Republican, fair-weather Christian and she was my liberal girlfriend who didn't see the world my way on just about anything. My thought process then was, obviously she will "handle it" and this will go away. So with my head down, I asked her if that was her plan, and it most definitely was not. The idea quite offended her, and she left.

I failed the biggest test of my young life. I like to think I made it right by subsequently stepping up and forming the family I now have and cherish. It took a lot of work on both our parts. But after that, my view on abortion changed to match my previous failure. I decided I was pro-choice, because how I could I champion the right to life when I turned away from it in my moment of being tested? This new view shielded me from another layer of shame, that of hypocrisy. Gradually, other pressing issues led me away from being conservative to being a libertarian, an identification I still hold and believe to be correct. Abortion is still very much in debate in libertarian circles and has been for quite some time. Whereas it is settled for conservatives and progressives, I found comfort in the hand-wringing and uncertainty of libertarians on the question.

In order to detach myself from the outcome of America's abortion debate, I had to assume three things. First, that there was sincerity in the argument that the survival of the mother was of utmost concern to the pro-choice crowd. Second, that the valid debate over when life begins wouldn't be allowed by courts to extend past the time of birth. Third, that while late-term abortions are generally rare and unpopular, the legality of the practice was not going to extend beyond the most progressive corners of America.

The quick rise and fall of the Repeal Act in Virginia unravels all these things I taught myself to believe about the abortion debate. That it had boundaries, that it was about people trying to defend life in exceptional circumstances — both on the side of advocacy for the unborn and the women carrying them. It's simply not true, and I see that now. The radicalized left in 2019 supported by a new wave of true believers who consider physical and mental harm to be entirely subjective concepts, is not going to stop expanding the religion of "choice". Governor Northam made it clear in his admission that the fates of children could be decided on after the fact of their birth. This wasn't a slip-up or miscommunication, it was the mask slipping on an ideology of death that has been mainstreamed. I just didn't have the courage and clarity to confront it.

You could say I may have just had a panic attack. I would say it was given to me — and thank God for it.

Sitting on the side road with the keys in the ignition, I wondered if this is what being convicted by God feels like. I've prayed for countless years for the spirit to move me in the way it moves some members of my family when all I've ever felt in my faith is silence.

You could say I may have just had a panic attack. I would say it was given to me — and thank God for it. Kathy Tran and Ralph Northam revealed that the sidelines are no longer where I belong. My hope for moderation and wisdom from public officials has not stopped the worst ideas on abortion from being realized and spread. Eventually, more state legislatures will be faced with similar bills that blur the lines of what defines harm. David French wrote in the National Review that the onset of anxiety, depression, fear of postpartum will soon be tried as reasons for young life to be terminated — and he is right.

I'm joining the movement to defend the sanctity of life. If you've been on the sidelines too, I hope you'll join me.

Stephen Kent (@Stephen_Kent89) is a friend of the show and host of Beltway Banthas, a Star Wars & politics podcast in D.C.

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TRUMP: The twilight hour of socialism has arrived

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The other day, at Florida International University in Miami, facing large American and Venezuelan flags, President Trump gave a rousing speech in Miami, including this line, the "twilight hour of socialism has arrived."

Trump went on to say:

Socialism is about one thing only—power for the ruling class. They want the power to decide who wins and who loses, who's up and who's down…and even who lives and who dies.

He then repeated a phrase that helped define his State of the Union address this year:

America will never be a socialist country.

Fittingly, Fox News posted an article yesterday exposing the overlooked evils of Che dangers of socialism that all too often disappear behind a flashy design on a t-shirt.

  1. Guevara said he killed people without regard to guilt or innocence. In an interview, Guevara said, "in times of excessive tension we cannot proceed weakly. At the Sierra Maestra, we executed many people by firing squad without knowing if they were fully guilty. At times, the Revolution cannot stop to conduct much investigation; it has the obligation to triumph."
  2. Humberto Fontova, author of "Exposing the Real Che Guevara," told Fox that Guevara created system that put gay people in labor camps. "The regime that Che Guevara co-founded is the only one in modern history in the Western Hemisphere to have herded gays into forced labor camps."
  3. Guevara opposed a free press: "In 1959, leftist journalist José Pardo Llada reported that Guevara told him: 'We must eliminate all newspapers; we cannot make a revolution with free press. Newspapers are instruments of the oligarchy.'"
  4. Guevara made racist statements: Guevara went on to write: "the black is indolent and a dreamer; spending his meager wage on frivolity or drink; the European has a tradition of work and saving."

These are just some of the many historical examples of the failure of socialism. President Trump is right. If the frivolities of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Saunders catch on and spread, we could have an unbelievable problem on our hands.

Poor Jussie: His narrative is falling apart completely

Tasia Wells/Getty Images for Espolòn

Here's how the media works now: Find a story that confirms their narrative, run it constantly and relentlessly. When the real story comes out, minimize exposure of the correction. Repeat.

We're seeing this pattern play out over and over again.

RELATED: John Ziegler isn't buying what Jussie Smollett's selling either

Here are some of the knee-jerk reactions that the media had to this Jessie Smollett hoax, from Insider Edition, CNN, E! News, Headline News, CNBC, TMZ, to name a few:


Montage: Watch the Media Uncritically Accept Another Outlandish 'Hate Crime' youtu.be


And those are just the reactions on TV. It was just as bad, at times worse, in print and online. I'll give you one special example, however. Because, you know the situation is bad when TMZ is connecting the dots and seeing through this guy's story:

The sources say there were red flags from the get go. Cops were extremely suspicious when Jussie took them out to the area where he said he was attacked and pointed to an obscure camera saying how happy he was that the attack was on video. Turns out the camera was pointing in the wrong direction. Cops thought it was weird he knew the location of that camera. And there's this. We're told investigators didn't believe the 2 alleged attackers screamed 'This is MAGA country' because 'Not a single Trump supporter watches 'Empire.''

Here's the man himself, in an interview just days after the alleged beating…I'm sorry, the alleged "modern day lynching." Here he is in an interview with ABC News, complaining about people making up stuff:



Strong words, spoken by a man who, allegedly, created the whole narrative to begin with.

This compromise is an abomination

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Three decades ago, "The Art of the Deal" made Donald Trump a household name. A lot has happened since then. But you can trace many of Trump's actions back to that book.

Art of the Deal:

In the end, you're measured not by how much you undertake but by what you finally accomplish.

People laughed when he announced that he was running for President. And I mean that literally. Remember the 2011 White House Correspondents' Dinner when Obama roasted Trump, viciously, mocking the very idea that Trump could ever be President. Now, he's President.

You can't con people, at least not for long. You can create excitement, you can do wonderful promotion and get all kinds of press, and you can throw in a little hyperbole. But if you don't deliver the goods, people will eventually catch on.

This empire-building is a mark of Trump.

RELATED: 'Arrogant fool' Jim Acosta exposed MSM's dishonest border agenda — again.

The most recent example is the border wall. Yesterday, congress reached a compromise on funding for the border wall. Weeks of tense back-and-forth built up to that moment. At times, it seemed like neither side would budge. Trump stuck to his guns, the government shut down, Trump refused to budge, then, miraculously, the lights came back on again. The result was a compromise. Or at least that's how it appeared.

But really, Trump got what he wanted -- exactly what he wanted. He used the techniques he wrote about in The Art of the Deal:

My style of deal-making is quite simple and straightforward. I aim very high, and then I just keep pushing and pushing and pushing to get what I'm after.

From the start, he demanded $5.7 billion for construction of a border wall. It was a months' long tug-of-war that eventually resulted in yesterday's legislation, which would dedicate $1.4 billion. It would appear that that was what he was after all along. Moments before the vote, he did some last-minute pushing. A national emergency declaration, and suddenly the number is $8 billion.

Art of the Deal:

People think I'm a gambler. I've never gambled in my life. To me, a gambler is someone who plays slot machines. I prefer to own slot machines. It's a very good business being the house.

In a rare show of bipartisanship, Senate passed the legislation 83-16, and the House followed with 300-128. Today, Trump will sign the bill.

It's not even fair to call that a deal, really. A deal is what happens when you go to a car dealership, fully ready to buy a car, and the salesman says the right things. What Trump did is more like a car dealer selling an entire row of cars to someone who doesn't even have a licence. When Trump started, Democrats wouldn't even consider a wall, let alone pay for it.

Art of the Deal:

The final key to the way I promote is bravado. I play to people's fantasies. People may not always think big themselves, but they can still get very excited by those who do. That's why a little hyperbole never hurts. People want to believe that something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular. I call it truthful hyperbole. It's an innocent form of exaggeration—and a very effective form of promotion.

He started the wall on a chant, "Build the wall!" until he got what he wanted. He maneuvered like Don Draper, selling people something that they didn't even know they wanted, and convincing them that it is exactly what they've always needed.