On-time Democratic presidential candidate hopeful Mayor Pete Buttigieg has come under fire from pro-life Democrats for his stance on abortion. Despite facing repeat questions in interviews on the topic, Buttigieg has been reticent to disclose whether he believes a ban on abortion after 20 weeks is constitutional.
A veteran of the Afghanistan War, Buttigieg has served as the mayor of South Bend, Indiana since 2012. He is known as a moderate and gained widespread support among parts of the electorate looking for an alternative to the socialist leanings of rival Bernie Sanders and a change from establishment-backed Joe Biden. Given his reputation as a moderate, one might have expected Buttigieg to orientate his position on abortion so that it aligned itself better with the beliefs of the majority of his support base.
Buttigieg has gone on the record to express his support for the right to abortion, also calling for the Hyde Amendment, which outlaws the federal funding for abortion cases, to be repealed. However, when quizzed on the finer points of his policy, Buttigieg seemed unsure on exactly where he stands when it comes to the legal limit for when an abortion can be performed.
Appearing on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program on February 2, 2019, Buttigieg would not be drawn on whether he would be in favour of controversial abortion laws recently passed in New York that permits abortion procedures up until the moment of birth.
He said: “I don’t think we need more restrictions right now. I just believe that when a woman is in that situation and when we’re talking about some of those situations covered by that law, extremely difficult, painful, often medically serious situations where life or health of the mother is at stake, the involvement of a male government official like me is not helpful.”
This non-committal stance has drawn the ire of pro-life groups across the states who have accused Buttigieg of lending his support to what they perceive as unethical abortion practices. Indeed, pundits have pointed to the damage that Buttigieg’s position did to his prospects among large pro-life sections of the electorate.
Running on a platform that promised to eliminate the Electoral College, expand the Supreme Court to 15 seats and provide a public option on the health insurance marketplace, Buttigieg was eventually forced to call time on his bid to become the Democratic nominee for the 2020 election having been overlooked by voters in the primaries.