Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke, former congressman, former candidate for the United States Senate, and current candidate for the presidency of the United States was speaking at the College of Charleston, located in Charleston, South Carolina recently. During the question and answer session, a man posed a question about abortion that the candidate had not thought through the answer to.
According to the Washington Examiner, the man asked, “My question is this: I was born Sept. 8th, 1989, and I want to know if you think on Sept. 7th, 1989, my life had no value.”
O’Rourke has previously expressed support for third-trimester abortions at any time for any reason. He did not deviate from that position when he responded, “Of course I don’t think that. And of course, I’m glad that you’re here. But you referenced my answer in Ohio, and it remains the same. This is a decision that neither you, nor I, nor the United States government should be making. That’s a decision for the woman to make.”
In other words, so long as you’re in your mother’s womb, even if she is being wheeled in with contractions, yelling with the birth pangs, you are essentially out of luck. The audience, interestingly enough, applauded Beto’s answer.
Beto’s position on abortion is shared by some of the Democratic base. Indeed, by some measure, it could be seen as moderate, compared to other officeholders in the Democratic Party. Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, has caught a lot of grief for suggesting that a baby could be killed soon after he or she was born. Presumably even Beto would not go quite that far.
However, Beto is not where most of the American people are when it comes to abortion. NPR recently published a poll on American attitudes toward the issue. While a healthy majority would see Roe v. Wade remain in place, a considerable number of Americans would see further restrictions placed on the practice.
“Even though Americans are solidly against overturning Roe, a majority would also like to see abortion restricted in various ways. In a separate question, respondents were asked which of six choices comes closest to their view of abortion policy.
“In all, 61% said they were in favor of a combination of limitations that included allowing abortion in just the first three months of a pregnancy (23%); only in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the woman (29%); or only to save the life of the woman (9%).
“Eighteen percent said abortion should be available to a woman any time she wants during her entire pregnancy. At the other end of the spectrum, 9% said it should never be permitted under any circumstance.”
In other words, Beto’s abortion on demand position is shared by just 18 percent of Americans, hardly a strong base to build a winning coalition for a run for the presidency.
Beto’s campaign website expands on the candidate’s position on abortion. He would repeal the Hyde Amendment that prohibits spending federal funding for abortion. Beto would use the abortion issue as a litmus test for appointing judges. He would include full funding for abortion in the version of the Medicare for All plan that he supports. The candidate would codify Roe v. Wade in federal statute.
The Blaze has a pretty good analysis of the exchange Beto had with the man in Charleston and its implications.
“O’Rourke’s answer contains a striking set of seemingly contradictory conclusions: Yes, an unborn life has value. And at the same time, yes, a woman should be able to choose to end that unborn life even the day before it is set to enter the world.
“Even more notable, this question was not framed in the context of the mother’s health or the unborn child’s health. It was simply a question of the value of life, and O’Rourke, in his answer, grants women unilateral authority to get an abortion at any point before birth, apparently for any reason.”
O’Rourke’s position on abortion is not likely to affect his chances to get the Democratic nomination, not to speak of becoming president. The reason is that since the candidate is languishing at about two or three percent in the polls, no analyst gives him a chance of lasting very long when real people start casting votes in the early primary states. Beto’s abortion position should be noted and tucked away, just in case he tries to run for any other office after his inevitable defeat.