Pete Buttigieg stressed on Sunday that abortion rights and reproductive health care are a “national freedom,” as states throughout the country continue to pass restrictive anti-abortion legislation.
The Democratic mayor of South Bend, Indiana, was asked during his Fox News presidential town hall about what he would do as president to protect reproductive rights. Fox’s Chris Wallace asked if Buttigieg believes in limits on a person’s right to abortion at any stage of pregnancy, pointing to laws that expand abortion rights in some states like New York.
“I think the dialogue has gotten so caught up on when you draw the line that we’ve gotten away from the fundamental question of who gets to draw the line,” the presidential candidate responded in Claremont, New Hampshire. “And I trust women to draw the line.”
Wallace pushed harder, asking if Buttigieg is fine with women having abortions late into the third trimester. The Democrat made it clear he was not going to take the bait, responding by saying such cases represent just 1% of abortions. The answer led to loud applause from the audience.
“So, let’s put ourselves in the shoes of a woman in that situation. If it’s that late in your pregnancy, that means almost by definition you’ve been expecting to carry it to term,” Buttigieg said. “We’re talking about women who have perhaps chosen the name, women who have purchased the crib, families that then get the most devastating medical news of their lifetime, something about the health or the life of the mother that forces them to make an impossible, unthinkable choice.”
He continued: “That decision [to have an abortion] is not going to be made any better, medically or morally, because the government is dictating how that decision should be made.”
Buttigieg noted that as president he would appoint justices and judges who will protect a person’s right to an abortion, as well as ensure proper reproductive health care and access to contraception. The candidate did not go into as much detail on his policy as some of his fellow presidential contenders, like Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).
The South Bend mayor has also spoken against the recent draconian abortion bans happening across the country, including Alabama, which bans abortion in all instances except for when the mother’s life is in danger. There are no exceptions for rape or incest, which is also the case in a Missouri anti-abortion bill about to be signed into law.