A Virginia lawmaker sent an email to her constituents Wednesday night apologizing for attaching her name to a controversial abortion bill without reading it closely enough.
In a newsletter, Del. Dawn Adams, D-Richmond, said she “did not exercise due diligence” before co-sponsoring the abortion legislation with Del. Kathy Tran, D-Fairfax. Tran became the focus of a social media firestorm this week after Republicans circulated video of her saying the bill would allow abortions up until the moment of birth if one doctor certified that the mother’s physical or mental health was at risk.
“I made a mistake, and all I know to do is to admit it, tell the truth, and let the chips fall where they may,” said Adams, a first-term delegate who won a close upset victory in 2017 in her suburban district and could face a competitive re-election campaign this year.
Though other Democrats are standing by Tran, the response from Adams is the strongest public showing of regret from a lawmaker associated with the abortion bill, which has already been defeated.
Adams, a nurse practitioner, said she believes women have “full authority to decide what is best for themselves and their bodies.” But she said she mistakenly believed Tran’s bill would only repeal “onerous” abortion restrictions Republicans imposed in 2012.
“While it did, it sought to do much more,” Adams said. “Had I researched each line of removed language, I would have seen that, and known that there was more research to be done. None of this changes that I believe women must have safe legal options for abortion; but I also would have seen the utility of language that provides guidelines for how to ensure this.”
In a text message, Adams said she’ll continue to support Tran, but she said her colleague was put in an “untenable situation.”
In the video of Tran’s comments, House Majority Leader Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah, asked Tran if a woman would be able to request an abortion as she was going into labor. Tran said that would be allowed under her bill.
In her letter, Adams said the scenario Gilbert described would classify as a “partial birth infanticide” that would be illegal under state law.
“This remains a crime and would not be something any sane licensed physician would perform,” Adams said. “The code is very specific and clear about what this means and it is different from an abortion, even late term.”
Republican Garrison Coward, a former aide to Rep. Rob Wittman, R-1st, has announced he’s running against Adams this year. Coward recently announced an endorsement from former U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-7th.