Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg said that women should be able to abort unborn babies at any stage in their pregnancy, a fringe position that clashes with the majority of American voters.
Joining several fellow candidates on the left, including former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, Buttigieg said that abortions should be a choice between a woman and her doctor with no involvement by the government.
Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, was asked over the weekend during an appearance on Fox News at what stage in pregnancy he believes abortions should be limited.
“I think the dialogue has gotten so caught up on where you draw the line that we’ve gotten away from the fundamental question of who gets to draw the line,” Buttigieg said at the town hall in New Hampshire. “And I trust women to draw the line.”
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) May 19, 2019
“Just to be clear, you’re saying that you would be okay with a woman well into the third trimester deciding to abort her pregnancy?” host Chris Wallace responded.
Buttigieg tried deflecting, saying “These hypotheticals are usually set up in order to provoke a strong emotional—” before Wallace interrupted, noting that thousands of late-term abortions take place every year.
“Let’s put ourselves in the shoes of a woman in that situation,” Buttigieg said. “If it’s that late in your pregnancy, that means almost by definition you’re expecting to carry it to term. We’re talking about women who have perhaps chosen a name, women who have purchased a crib, families that then get the most devastating medical news of their lifetime. Something about the health or the life of the mother that forces them to make an impossible, unthinkable choice.”
“That decision is not going to be made any better, medically or morally, because the government is dictating how that decision is made,” Buttigieg said.
His stance clashes with answers by the overwhelming majority of voters in numerous polls.
Support for abortion in general has crept up over the years, but respondents to polls have long been against late-term abortions.
A February poll conducted by YouGov and the pro-life group Americans United for Life found that 80 percent of respondents were opposed to abortion the day before the child is born and 79 percent opposed abortion in the third trimester at all.
A poll conducted later in the month by Marist University and the Knights of Columbus also found similar results—80 percent of respondents said they would like abortion limited to, at most, the first three months of pregnancy. And 71 percent of respondents said they oppose abortions after 20 weeks.
In a Gallup poll in 2018, 60 percent of respondents said abortions should be legal in the first three months but 72 percent said abortions should be illegal in the second trimester and 87 percent said that abortions should be illegal in the final trimester. Only 13 percent of respondents said that abortions should be allowed up until the moment of birth.
“Most Americans generally see some reason for abortion to be legal, but far more think it should be legal in the first trimester than in the second or third,” Gallup summarized.
Late-term abortions are generally defined as those performed at or after 21 weeks of gestation. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1.3 percent of the 638,169 abortions conducted in 2015—8,296—were late-term abortions.
Buttigieg’s position on abortion falls in line with how many Democratic presidential candidates are embracing ideas that used to be on the fringe.