Democratic presidential candidate Cory Booker dismissed recent pro-life legislation debated by Congress, saying its sole purpose was to encourage "schisms and differences" between Americans.
Booker made the remarks during a town hall in Iowa on Thursday while discussing a "recent bill that caused a lot of controversy." The New Jersey senator said the issue was particularly potent with "people from church communities" who frequently asked if he voted "against this thing that allows us to kill babies when they're born."
"I'm like, ‘that is a felony, that is a crime, that cannot happen under any law,'" Booker said. "This was something that was put forward to try further create schisms and differences between us. You can not kill a child after birth in this country, that is against the law.
"For women that are really in that difficult position, so called ‘late-term abortions,' some people try to make it think that is something that commonly happens," he continued. "It happens when a woman's life is being threatened and the viability of the fetus is as well compromised."
It is unclear the "recent [pro-life] bill" Booker's comments were meant to address. In recent weeks, Congress has debated both the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act and the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. The latter, which has already become a major 2020 issue, requires doctors to provide life-saving medical care to any baby that survives abortion. The former, meanwhile, would ban abortion after 20 weeks by creating new criminal penalties for those preforming or attempting to preform the procedure past that cut-off.
Regardless which bill, Booker has continually voted against advancing either measure. Since joining the Senate in 2013, Booker has backed efforts block the Pain-Capable act by ensuring it doesn't reach the 60-vote threshold to overcome the filibuster. In February, Booker joined a majority of the Senate Democratic conference to prevent the Born-Alive bill from passing.
Booker cast such votes, despite popular public opinion. As previously reported by the Washington Free Beacon, polling has shown that more than 77 percent of likely 2020 voters support congressional action to protect children born through failed abortions. Similarly, a Marist Poll from January found that 3-in-4 Americans support restricting abortion to the first trimester.
Booker, like most other 2020 Democrats serving or having served in Congress, previously sponsored legislation to strike down 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." The bill's broad guidelines include state and local prohibitions on the procedure after 20 weeks and laws preventing abortion as a means of sex selection.