Presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke told voters Monday evening that women should be free to request an abortion up until 24 hours before childbirth — no questions asked.
An inquiry about third-term abortions that dogged the Democrat in March returned in front of a Charleston, South Carolina, audience in a more pointed fashion this week.
Mr. O’Rourke was asked by a potential voter to reveal his thoughts on the man’s mother under a hypothetical scenario in which she had opted for an abortion 24 hours before she was to give birth.
“I saw in March, on Twitter, video — you were at a town hall meeting just like this in Cleveland. And someone asked you specifically, specifically about third-trimester abortions, and you said that’s a decision left up to the mother,” an audience member said before ABC News cameras. “So, my question is this: I was born September 8th, 1989, and I want to know if you think on September 7th, 1989, my life had no value.”
A smattering of boos broke out at the question.
“Of course I don’t think that,” the former Texas congressman replied, Breitbart first reported. “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. We want her to have the best possible access to care and to a medical provider.”
Mr. O’Rourke said his stance is partially informed by “trap” laws, which “make it harder for providers to offer the full spectrum of reproductive care.”
“The attack on Roe v. Wade, which we thought was the settled law of the land, and lest we had any illusion that the achievements that we’ve made are protected forever, or that progress is inevitable, that has been shattered right now,” he continued.
“More than a quarter of our family planning clinics have closed. And it has made us one of the epicenters of this maternal mortality crisis because not only can you not get safe, legal access to an abortion, you cannot get access to a cervical cancer screening, or a family planning provider, or — in a state that refused to expand Medicaid — any provider at all. And we are losing the lives of women in our state as a result. I don’t question the decisions that a woman makes. Only a woman knows what she knows, and I want to trust her with that. So, I appreciate the question. Thank you.”
The video referenced by the audience member came from an event in Cleveland. Mr. O’Rourke was asked if he would “protect the lives of third-trimester babies.”
“If there was an emergency, the doctors would just perform a C-section and you don’t have to kill the baby,” the audience member said at the March campaign appearance.
“The question is about abortion and reproductive rights and my answer to you is that should be a decision that the woman makes,” Mr. O’Rourke replied. “I trust her.”