- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 7, 2019

Amid heavy criticism of late-term abortion policies and proposals in New York and Virginia, President Trump said Thursday that society must protect the unborn.

“All children, born and unborn, are made in the holy image of God,” the president said at the annual National Prayer Breakfast in Washington. “As part of our commitment to building a just and loving society, we must build a culture that cherishes the dignity and sanctity of innocent human life.”

At his State of the Union address, Mr. Trump slammed embattled Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat who supported a proposal that would have allowed late-term abortions up to the moment of birth, and possibly after birth. In his speech Tuesday night, Mr. Trump said of the governor, “He would execute a baby after birth.”

During the prayer breakfast, Mr. Trump didn’t specifically discuss either Virginia’s proposal or a New York law that he has criticized for expanding the legality of late-term abortions. But he said policymakers must respect human life at all stages.

“Every life is sacred, and every soul is a precious gift from Heaven,” Mr. Trump said. “As the Lord says in Jeremiah, ‘Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you. Before you were born, I set you apart.’”

The president called in his State of the Union speech for an end to late term abortions.

Congressional Republicans said this week they plan to force a vote in the House on a measure that would penalize medical professionals who do not provide medical care to infants who survive abortions.

The New York law allows for abortions before the end of the 24th week of pregnancy, or later if an abortion is “necessary to protect the patient’s life or health” or if there is no “fetal viability.” It also removes abortion from the state’s criminal code and allows non-physicians to perform abortions.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo defended the law again this week.

“The New York law is just a mirror of the federal law,” Mr. Cuomo said Tuesday. “Don’t chase the bone that the Republicans are throwing. It does nothing different. It’s the life or health of a mother. The quote-unquote ‘late-term abortions’ is like 1 percent for the life or health of the mother. It is the federal standard.”

At the prayer breakfast, the president also singled out for praise second lady Karen Pence, whose decision to teach at a private Christian school has been criticized by some on the left. The president called her a “terrific woman.”

“She just went back recently to teaching art classes at a Christian school. Thank you, Karen,” Mr. Trump said.

Also in the audience was Pastor Andrew Brunson, who was released from imprisonment in Turkey last fall at Mr. Trump’s insistence.

Mr. Trump pointed to the pastor in the crowd and observed, “I said you’d better let him out. And they let you out.”

“It was a miracle,” the president said, smiling and spreading his arms as he looked up above.

The president noted that Pastor Brunson will walk his daughter down the aisle this weekend at her wedding.

“Wow, that’s great,” the president said, turning again to the pastor. “Was I invited?”

Upon hearing Mr. Brunson’s response, the president told the crowd, “He said ‘yes,’ thank you.”

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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