An anti-abortion rally drew a few hundred people to Virginia’s Capitol on Thursday bearing signs criticizing legislation to remove some restrictions for third-trimester abortions.

The bill, sponsored by Del. Kathy Tran, D-Fairfax, attracted heavy criticism from conservatives nationally. Mentions of Tran’s name during the rally elicited boos from the audience.

The event, titled the “Resist Infanticide Rally,” was organized by Students for Life of America, an anti-abortion group based in Fredericksburg.



Kendra Coblentz traveled to the Capitol from Farmville with her 2-month-old son. She said she hoped to see a larger crowd but maintained that the legislation doesn’t represent the views of people in the state.

“I don’t feel that most Americans want late-term abortions. It’s not what the people want,” she said.

Attendees Thursday acknowledged the crisis facing the state’s executive branch, but remained focused on their chosen issue.

“Politics is very complicated, and I don’t think it’s an accident that all of these things have come out at the same time,” said Kelly Worthington of Goochland County. “The racist things that came out have no place in our state or country, but I’m here to speak for life.”

Johnna Massey of Richmond said the scandals around Gov. Ralph Northam and Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax need further “fact-finding.” But on abortion, Massey said, Northam’s views are clear to her.

“Governor Northam told us exactly what he thought in his radio interview,” she said. “I don’t think that’s what God intends for us to have. If that’s what they represent, I don’t want them representing our state.”

In a radio appearance Jan. 30, Northam stirred controversy by suggesting that a woman and her doctor could have a “discussion” about what to do with a nonviable or deformed infant who survived birth. Northam’s office said the governor was referring only to infants with “severe fatal abnormalities” and that his words were being taken out of context “in bad faith.”

Also Thursday, the national organization March for Life, which holds an annual rally to oppose abortion, said it will host the first Virginia March for Life event April 3 in Richmond.

“We will bring together and mobilize countless pro-life Virginians who are appalled by the past few weeks’ pro-abortion activity in their beloved state,” said Jeanne Mancini, president of the March for Life Education and Defense Fund.

A list of speakers will be announced soon.

mleonor@timesdispatch.com

(804) 649-6254

Twitter: @MelLeonor_

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