Last week, Hawaii representative Tulsi Gabbard introduced not one but two substantial pieces of pro-life legislation. One measure from the Democratic congresswoman is intended “to protect pain-capable unborn children.” The legislative text is not yet available, but it is likely along the lines of similar legislation introduced in the past, which prohibits most abortions after 20 weeks’ gestation based on research suggesting that unborn children can feel pain at that stage of pregnancy.
The second piece of legislation would “ensure a health care practitioner exercises the proper degree of care in the case of a child who survives an abortion or attempted abortion.” That bill text also has yet to be made public, but it will almost certainly follow earlier forms of born-alive legislation. For the past two years, the Senate has held a vote on Senator Ben Sasse’s Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, which requires physicians to treat newborns who survive an abortion the same way they’d treat any other newborn delivered at the same gestational age.
Adding insult to injury, Gabbard is also sponsoring a measure to define sex as “determined on the basis of biological sex as determined at birth by a physician,” as it applies to Title IX and athletics, a controversial question among progressives, who increasingly believe that biological males should be permitted to compete with girls and women if they identify as female.
As the pro-life group Democrats for Life has pointed out, Gabbard has voted against pain-capable abortion restrictions three times during her congressional tenure. However, during the Democratic presidential primary, Gabbard was the only candidate to espouse support for any restrictions on abortion.
In an interview with Dave Rubin last fall, Gabbard said she views abortion in a “libertarian” way but believes that it should not be permitted during the last three months of pregnancy unless the mother was at severe risk. “I think that there should be some restrictions though,” she said. When Rubin asked if she had a “cutoff point,” Gabbard replied: “I think the third trimester. Unless a woman’s life or severe health consequences is at risk, then there shouldn’t be an abortion in the third trimester.”
Perhaps Gabbard has reflected on abortion and slowly changed her mind on the matter, or, put more precisely, perhaps she’s returned to her roots — when Gabbard first became involved in politics in the Hawaii state legislature, she said she was pro-life but later said her deployment in Iraq changed her view.
Or perhaps now that she’s decided not to remain in Congress at least for the time being, she feels free to remove herself from the Democratic Party’s lockstep with the pro-abortion movement and the abortion industry. Either way, Gabbard’s pro-life legislation from across the aisle is more than welcome, and it reflects where most Americans, and most Democrats, are on the matter of regulating abortion.