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Buttigieg Defends Women’s Right to Third-Trimester Abortions: ‘Who Gets to Draw The Line?’

South Bend., Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks at a DNC forum in Baltimore, Md., February 11, 2017. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

South Bend, Ind., mayor Pete Buttigieg on Sunday declined to endorse any state-imposed limits on abortion, including those that take place in the third trimester, telling the audience at a Fox News town hall that the decision should always be left up to the mother.

Asked by Fox News’ Chris Wallace if he believed there should be “any limit on a woman’s right to have an abortion,” the upstart Democratic presidential contender argued that focusing on the stage of gestation at which a fetus can be aborted is misguided.

“No, I think the dialogue has gotten so caught up on where you draw the line, that we’ve gotten away from the fundamental question of who gets to draw the line, and I trust women to draw the line when it’s their life,” Buttigieg answered.

Wallace then asked about abortion in the third trimester before quickly dismissing Buttigieg’s suggestion that the question was “hypothetical” by pointing out that roughly 6,000 third-trimester abortions occurred last year.

“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 a name, women who have purchased a crib — families who 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.”

“The bottom line is, as horrible as that choice is, that woman, that family, may seek spiritual guidance, they may seek medical guidance, but that decision isn’t going to be made any better, medically or morally, because the government is dictating how that decision should be made,” he said.

The majority of abortions that take place after 20 weeks are performed for reasons other than the health of the mother or child being placed in jeopardy, according to the pro-choice Guttmacher Institute. Just 13 percent of Americans believe abortion should be legal in the third trimester, according to a 2018 Gallup survey.

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