CHARLESTON, South Carolina — Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) told a pro-life member of the audience at the College of Charleston on Monday night that only a woman could decide to end a pregnancy the day before birth.
O’Rourke, speaking before a sympathetic audience at the college’s “Bully Pulpit” series, faced the tough question as follows (also 27:00 to 29:20 via ABC News, with complete question, at Facebook live):
Question: Beto, welcome to South Carolina. (Cheers) So, you mentioned solar — that’s what I do for a living, sell solar panels. Stable energy is really important. But my question’s not about that. 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. 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. (Boos)
Beto O’Rourke: 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. (Cheers) We want her to have the best possible access to care and to a medical provider, and I’ll tell you the consequence of this, this attack on a woman’s right to choose —
Question: But what about my right to life?
Beto O’Rourke: I listened to you, and I heard your question. I’m answering it. And 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. And I want to tell you some of the consequences of this. In my home state of Texas, thanks to these “trap” laws that make it harder for providers to offer the full spectrum of reproductive care, 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 (Applause), 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. (Cheers)
Several Democratic-governed states have removed all restrictions on abortion — even up to, and in some cases through, the moment of birth — in anticipation of the possible repeal of Roe by a conservative Supreme Court.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.