The subject of late-term abortions has been brought up repeatedly during this election season, with President Trump making the outrageous claim that Democrats are in favor of executing babies.
Biden and Democrats just clarified the fact that they are fully in favor of (very) LATE TERM ABORTION, right up unt… https://t.co/JdzHYus2rO— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1601984735.0
This message grossly misrepresents what late-term abortion actually is, as well as what pro-choice advocates are actually "in favor of." No one is in favor of someone having a specific medical procedure—that would require being involved in someone's individual medical care—but rather they are in favor of keeping the government out of decisions about specific medical procedures.
Pete Buttigieg, who has become a media surrogate for the Biden campaign—and quite an effective one at that—addressed this issue in a Fox News town hall when he was on the campaign trail himself. When Chris Wallace asked him directly about late-term abortions, Buttigieg answered Wallace's questions is the best way possible.
"Do you believe, at any point in pregnancy, whether it's at six weeks or eight weeks or 24 weeks or whenever, that there should be any limit on a woman's right to have an abortion?" Wallace asked.
"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 replied, "and I trust women to draw the line when it's their own health."
Wallace wanted to clarify that Buttigieg would be okay with late-term abortion and pointed out that there are more than 6000 women who get third trimester abortions each year.
"That's right," responded Buttiegieg, "representing one percent of cases. So let's put ourselves in the shoes of a woman in that situation. If it's that late in your pregnancy, than almost by definition, you've been 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 or viability of the pregnancy that forces them to make an impossible, unthinkable choice. And the bottom line is as horrible as that choice is, that woman, that family may seek spiritual guidance, they may seek medical guidance, but that decision is not going to be made any better, medically or morally, because the government is dictating how that decision should be made."
Pete is getting Biden votes from Fox viewers, full stop. https://t.co/IgMQ5gYhJr— Occam's Razor (@Occam's Razor)1602461073.0
And that's really the gist of the pro-choice stance. Why would we want the government to be involved in our most difficult medical and moral dilemmas and decisions?
Some may try to argue that an abortion isn't "a medical decision," but that is objectively untrue, especially in the case of late-term abortion. There are thousands of different scenarios that might lead to needing an abortion, and laws that place arbitrary limits on those decisions do real harm to families who are already suffering a loss.
Take the story of sitting U.S. Senator Gary Peters of Michigan, who just shared his family's tragic story "of how gut-wrenching and complicated decisions can be related to reproductive health" with Elle magazine.
Peters and his first wife were excited to welcome their second child to the world, when his wife's water broke four months into her pregnancy. There was no way for the baby to survive without amniotic fluid, and they were told to go home and wait for the miscarriage to happen. But it didn't happen. His wife's health deteriorated, and when she went back to the hospital three days later, the doctor told them the situation was dire. She could lose her uterus within hours, and her life was at risk as well if she went septic due to uterine infection. He recommended an abortion. However, the hospital refused to allow the procedure due to its anti-abortion policy, despite the doctor's appeal to the board.
"I still vividly remember he left a message on the answering machine saying, 'They refused to give me permission, not based on good medical practice, simply based on politics. I recommend you immediately find another physician who can do this procedure quickly,'" Peters told Elle.
The couple was able to get into another hospital and get the necessary procedure because Peters was friends with the chief administrator. But the experience illustrated how an abortion isn't always the choice to end a pregnancy out of convenience—or even the choice to end a pregnancy at all. Peters' wife called it "traumatic and painful," and said in a statement, "If it weren't for urgent and critical medical care, I could have lost my life."
Savita Halappanavar, a woman who needed an abortion in Ireland and was denied one, did lose her life in a high-profile 2012 case that prompted voters to overturn the abortion ban in the Catholic-majority country 2018. And there are too many other stories of close calls or having to endure painful experiences to make drawing legal lines far too fuzzy a prospect to endorse.
Whether it's about the life or health of the mother or about the life or death of the fetus, the decisions surrounding the end of an individual pregnancy should be made by the medical professionals and families involved, not by government officials.
@marcusvaldes @MeredthSalenger @DrDenaGrayson @PeteButtigieg My baby didn’t have a brain. I needed a late abortion.… https://t.co/MUBCmPmm5M— Weldon McGside (@Weldon McGside)1602515563.0
Buttigieg summed that idea up perfectly and compassionately in his town hall response.
Here's the full clip of Wallace's and Buttigieg's exchange.
Pete Buttigieg on late term abortion www.youtube.com
Once again, well said, Mayor Pete. Being pro-choice isn't about being pro-abortion, but rather pro-keep-the-government-out-of-my-personal-medical-decisions and trusting women and medical professionals to make those difficult choices for themselves.
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