Washington D.C., Sep 10, 2019 / 09:05 am
Democratic presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) has publicly opposed third trimester abortions, in a break with the rest of the Democratic field who all appear to support abortion access until birth.
In the Sept. 8 interview, Gabbard acknowledged that she used to be pro-life but now supports “a more libertarian position on this issue that government really shouldn’t be in that place of dictating to a woman the choice that she should make.”
When asked by interviewer Dave Rubin what the “cutoff” point for her was in protecting a woman’s “right to choose” abortion, Gabbard answered, “I think the third trimester, unless the woman’s life or severe health consequences is at risk.”
Gabbard’s statement appears to signal a break with her own legislative record. In the House of Representatives, she voted against a 20-week abortion ban in 2017. The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, H.R. 36, would have criminalized abortions when the “probable post-fertilization age” of the baby is 20 weeks or older, except in cases of rape and incest, or when the life of the mother is at stake.
Gabbard has also not signed a discharge petition to force a vote on legislation protecting babies who survive abortions. The petition currently has the support of 201 members of Congress calling for a vote on the “Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act,” H.R. 962, which would require that babies surviving abortion attempts receive the same appropriate and necessary health care from the attending doctor as any other baby would receive. A vote on the bill is currently being blocked by Democratic House leadership; 218 signatures are required to force the vote.
Gabbard’s statement of opposition to third trimester abortions stands in contrast to recent comments by other Democratic presidential candidates that suggest that women should have legal access to abortion until birth.
Former congressman Robert Francis O’Rourke, when asked by an audience member at a campaign stop if he would support a woman’s access to an abortion one day before birthing her child, answered that the decision should be left up to the woman and that government should not interfere.
Peter Buttigieg has argued that women should be the ones deciding what the limits are for abortions within pregnancies, and said in a Sept. 6 interview that “there’s a lot of parts of the Bible that talk about how life begins with breath,” but added that “no matter what you think about the cosmic question of how life begins,” “the woman making the decision” should be the one making that determination for her unborn child.