Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke on Monday said third-trimester abortions should be legal after he was asked about the procedure at a Cleveland campaign event.
"Are you for third-trimester abortions or are you gonna protect the lives of third-trimester babies? Because there's really not a medical necessity for abortion [at that stage]," a woman asked O'Rourke. "It's not a medical emergency procedure because typically third-trimester abortions take up to three days to have, so you would in that sense, if there were an emergency, the doctors would just do a C-section and you don't have to kill the baby in that instance. So are you for or against third-trimester abortions?"
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"So the question is about abortion and reproductive rights and my answer to you is that should be a decision the woman makes," O'Rourke responded, prompting loud applause. "I trust her."
Democrats have had their hands full navigating the issue of late-term abortion this year. Earlier this year, Democrats in the Virginia state legislature introduced a bill which would have permitted abortion up to the moment before birth. Asked about the legislation, Gov. Ralph Northam (D., Va.) suggested it would permit infanticide, and that a baby who survived abortion "would be kept comfortable" while a discussion ensued "between the physicians and the mother."
Democratic senators also blocked passage of the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, which would have made it mandatory for doctors to provide medical care to babies who are born alive during an abortion. A February poll found 77 percent of voters favor legislation mandating that children who survive failed abortions are given the same medical treatment prematurely born babies, and 62 percent opposed legislation allowing late-term abortions up to the point of labor.
Another survey from February found 47 percent of Americans say they identify as pro-life, while the same percentage called themselves pro-choice. One month earlier, 55 percent said they were pro-choice and 38 percent considered themselves pro-life.