From every indication, it sounds like daytime talk show The View has one of the most toxic cultures in television, both behind and in front of the camera. But somehow the show still commands an audience sizable enough to attract every Democratic candidate on its program. Pete Buttigieg is no exception, and this week the South Bend, Indiana mayor tried his best to defend his radical stance on abortion to lone conservative host Meghan McCain.
McCain started her question by asking Mayor Buttigieg about the answer he gave in another interview saying that life begins at breath and therefore only breathing babies should be protected from abortion. His answer is political and disappointing. He says something without really saying anything at all.
“Different people will interpret their own moral rights and scripture differently,” Mayor Buttigieg said. “But we live in a country where it is extremely important that no one person have to be subjected to some other’s interpretation of their own religion. … It shouldn’t be up to a government official to draw the line. It should be up to the woman who’s confronted with the kid.”
When pressed about his views on infanticide, the candidate refused to give a clear answer and stated essentially that all late-term abortions are done because of a prenatal diagnosis.
“(About infanticide) Does anyone think that’s seriously what these cases are about,” Buttigieg said. “Think about their situation, if this is a late term situation then by definition it is one where a woman was expecting to carry the pregnancy to term. Then she gets the most devastating news of her life. We’re talking about families that may have picked out a name, maybe assembling a crib and they learn something excruciating and they are faced with this terrible choice. And I don’t know what to tell them morally about what they should do. I just know that I trust her, and her decision medically or morally isn’t going to be any better because the government is demanding her to do it.”
There’s a lot of issues with Buttigieg’s response. The first is that babies do survive abortion attempts, and infanticide happens every time a medical professional denies care to a child born alive after an abortion. While the data about how many babies survive abortion is incomplete, it does happen.
The second problem is the idea he puts forth which argues that abortions are done in the third trimester only because of prenatal medical complications. That’s simply not true. Late-term abortions are done for elective reasons most of the time. To say otherwise is a blatant falsehood.
His answer also fails to recognize that there are perinatal hospice options available for babies with terminal prenatal diagnoses. These options allow families to celebrate a new life and grieve a life lost in a healthy manner that does not require killing the preborn child before birth. The outcome may be the same, the untimely death of a child, but one is a natural process and the other requires that parents make the decision to kill their child.
He also doesn’t specify if the condition is terminal or something like Down syndrome, which is a lifelong condition but manageable and children born with the condition can lead long and happy lives. They don’t deserve abortion merely for existing, but the abortion rate in the United States is at least 67%.
The other problem is the idea that a government does not have the moral responsibility to protect the lives of its preborn citizens. If a man murders a woman, that man is usually imprisoned in order to not only pay for the crime but to protect the population from the further violence that he may inflict. If it’s not the government’s responsibility to protect its citizens, then does it just allow law breakers to roam free? That doesn’t make any sense.
Another problem is that Buttigieg is gay identified, which means that he can essentially wipe his hands of the entire situation because it will never affect him personally. Neither he nor his husband can become pregnant and so the complications that can surround pregnancy is something that he can simply ignore, which is how he responded in the interview. In a way it was almost dismissive and simply put all the responsibility on women for the decision. As biology tells us, it does take two to make a baby and in certain situations a man’s involvement might stop an abortion or, in some instances, encourage an abortion.
Pete Buttigieg tried, in many flowery words, to bypass the question about abortion and infanticide. But, like Meghan McCain said, he failed and through his answer showed the country how radical his perspective on abortion truly is.
Photo by Gage Skidmore