2020 Dems Silent on Data Showing Voters Oppose Their Abortion Stance

Majority of Democratic presidential contenders back bill to invalidate laws limiting abortion

Beto O'Rourke | Getty
February 15, 2019

The Democratic Party's leading presidential contenders are silent on data showing an overwhelming majority of voters oppose their stance on abortion.

A poll released by Susan B. Anthony List on Wednesday found that 77 percent of likely general election voters favor legislation protecting children born through failed abortions and 62 percent oppose efforts to expand late-term abortions. The results closely mirror those previously recorded by Gallup showing only 28 percent of Americans think abortion should be legal during the second trimester and only 13 percent support it during the third trimester.

Despite these numbers, the Democratic presidential contenders continue to support the Women's Health Protection Act. If implemented, the bill would invalidate any laws that "single out abortion providers with medically unnecessary requirements and restrictions, do not promote women's health or safety, and limit access to abortion services," according to the liberal Center for Reproductive Rights. Effectively it would strike down prohibitions on abortion after 20 weeks, regulations protecting individuals or institutions from being forced to perform abortions, and laws preventing abortion on the basis of sex, among others.

The bill—first introduced in the Senate in 2017—was cosponsored by Democrats like Kamala Harris (Calif.), Sherrod Brown (Ohio), Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), Cory Booker (N.J.), Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), Michael Bennet (Colo.), Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), and independent Bernie Sanders (Vt.). Likewise, the House version was backed by Democratic representatives Eric Swalwell (Calif.), Seth Moulton (Mass.), Tim Ryan (Ohio), and former congressman Beto O'Rourke (Texas).

None of those individuals, who are now either running for president or weighing a run, responded to questions from the Washington Free Beacon concerning their support for the legislation in light of the new polling numbers from SBA List.

"I don't think they've seen the poll numbers," Kristen Day, the executive director of the Democrats for Life of America, told the Free Beacon. "They look at the poll numbers which Planned Parenthood and NARAL give to them, which say that most Americans don't want Roe v. Wade to be overturned. But that isn't the truth about abortion and what people's opinions are on abortion."

Day called supporters of the bill "definitely out of the mainstream on this issue. Think like in California and New York, you get a lot of electoral votes. So they're in line with where California and New York are on abortion but that's not the majority of the nation."

Day urged for both pro-life and pro-choice Democrats to "speak out more" against late-term abortions. She added the caveat, however, that was often easier said than done.

"A lot of them are afraid to speak out, I think, because they don't want to appear to be against women," Day said. "There are people in Congress right now who are pro-life ... but they're afraid to vote that way, they're afraid to vote their conscience. On no other issue would you be forced to do that."

Late-term abortions and protecting children that survive failed abortions have been at the political forefront in recent weeks. In January, New York enacted one of the most liberal abortion laws in the entire country. The bill, which removed abortion from the state's penal code and expanded the practice past the 24-week mark, ignited a national conversation on the topic. That conversation only grew more polarized when Virginia's Democratic governor Ralph Northam seemed to endorse infanticide against babies who survive late-term abortion while discussing a similar bill introduced in his state.

In response, Trump and Republicans called on Congress to ban late-term abortions and pass legislation mandating that children who survive a failed abortion are given the same medical treatment as babies born prematurely. Both of those efforts have been blocked by Democrats who have denounced such measures as anti-abortion and amount to little more than political stunts.

Day said those arguments only served to prove the national party "had a bad case of group-think."