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Top 10 Reasons To Keep A Potentially Doomed Infant Comfortable

Here are ten reasons that make sense of Gov. Ralph Northam’s problematically burdensome idea that a biological specimen of unknown value should be kept comfortable.


Ralph Northam, the governor of Virginia, is swamped with mansplaining duties. Among other things, he came to the defense of HB 2491. This bill was characterized by many cross-outs of existing law, including the following:

(b) 2. The physician and two consulting physicians certify certifies and so enter enters in the hospital record of the woman, that in their the physician’s medical opinion, based upon their the physician’s best clinical judgment, the continuation of the pregnancy is likely to result in the death of the woman or substantially and irremediably impair the mental or physical health of the woman.

(c) 3. Measures for life support for the product of such abortion or miscarriage must shall be available and utilized if there is any clearly visible evidence of viability.

Del. Kathy Tran, the bill’s sponsor, verified that the amendments to current abortion law amounted to a change in kind, rather than degree. But what exactly would this look like?

Northam explained, “When we talk about third-trimester abortions, these are done with the consent of obviously the mother, with the consent of the physicians — more than one physician, by the way — and it’s done in cases where there may be severe deformities, there may be a fetus that’s non-viable. In this particular example, 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.”

Seems clear enough, except one thing. Why keep the infant comfortable? It seems like a lot of trouble for people who already have a ton of problems. Plus, who is going to keep the infant comfortable, and who is going to think about keeping the infant comfortable? Hello, emotional labor.

Since Northam has had to prioritize another bit of rationalizing for the moment, here are ten reasons that make sense of his problematically burdensome idea that a biological specimen of unknown value should be kept comfortable.

  1. Give the labor and delivery nurses something to do on slow days.
  2. Grandma will be less upset if you tell her the infant was kept comfortable.
  3. It’s the least you can do for an organism in need of resuscitation.
  4. If one of those birth photographers shows up, you want the infant looking its best.
  5. It’s standard humane practice to “make sure that your [euthanizerino] has a comfortable blanket or bed to lie on.”
  6. There is some legal uncertainty over the relevance of Article 6 of the 1989 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child to this situation, so you should take precautions.
  7. If the infant turns out not to be doomed, it would be super-mean not to have kept it comfortable.
  8. Infants look so cute in those hospital footprint blankies and stripey hats.
  9. The costs of keeping an infant comfortable are covered by most major insurance carriers and Medicaid.
  10. So you don’t have to listen to crying while discussion ensues over whether to resuscitate the infant.