The Corner


On Abortion, One 2020 Democrat Hit the Gas Pedal

Julian Castro speaks to members of the media the morning after participating in the first Democratic debate in Miami, Fla., June 27, 2019. (Mike Segar/Reuters)

In the first installment of NBC’s Democratic presidential debate yesterday evening, ten candidates spent a combined four minutes talking about abortion — or “reproductive justice,” as they prefer to call it. Predictably, the conversation revolved almost entirely around meaningless euphemisms about protecting “reproductive health care,” and when it touched on policy at all, things got . . . odd.

Here’s a fascinating exchange between moderator Lester Holt and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, the first formal question of the evening related to abortion policy:

Holt: Secretary Castro, this one is for you. All of you on stage support a woman’s right to an abortion. You all support some version of a government health-care option. Would your plan cover abortion, Mr. Secretary?

Castro: Yes, it would. I don’t believe only in reproductive freedom. I believe in reproductive justice. And, you know, what that means is that just because a woman — or let’s also not forget someone in the trans community, a trans female, is poor, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have the right to exercise that right to choose. And so I absolutely would cover the right to have an abortion.

Castro went on to insist that the “right to choose is under assault” in a variety of red states and in the courts, thanks to recent pro-life laws (that haven’t gone into effect) and Trump appointees (who haven’t undone a single part of our pro-abortion jurisprudence). But focus for a moment on the first half of Castro’s response. A Democratic politician is suggesting here, with no prompting whatsoever from the moderator, that a trans female — a biological male who identifies as a woman — should have access to abortion under a federally funded health-care plan.

According to at least one Democratic politician, then, “reproductive justice” requires that the federal government ensure biological males can obtain no-cost abortion procedures. Castro’s thinking on this point didn’t originate with him, nor has it been confined to his most recent, transparent effort to make himself more appealing to the fringe left-wing activists swaying the Democratic primary. Earlier this month, HuffPost published a “report” entitled “Women Aren’t The Only People Who Get Abortions,” with the subheading, “Transgender men and other gender-nonconforming folks get abortions, too. But no one’s discussing how the recent abortion bans will affect them.”

HuffPost’s assertion, at least, bears a vague relationship to reality: A “transgender man,” unlike the transgender females Castro referenced, is a biological woman who may or may not retain the capacity to become pregnant (depending on what hormonal or surgical changes they’ve undergone), and thus to have an abortion.

Castro apparently has decided he’ll be the one to address the oversight HuffPost claims is afflicting the pro-abortion cause. The abortion-rights movement’s insistence that abortion merely removes a “clump of cells” or parasite from a woman’s womb — rather than ending the life of a distinct human being — is biologically illiterate enough. But as the Democratic party continues to embrace intersectionality, identity politics, and radical gender theory, at least one of their presidential contenders is now prepared to take the next step down the road of un-science, championing the notion that human beings without wombs can be ridden of unwanted pregnancies.

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