Republican nominee Donald Trump’s comments on late term abortion in the final presidential debate infuriated abortion advocates, but a number of Democrats and the vast majority of Americans agree with his position.
“If you go with what Hillary is saying, in the ninth month you can take baby and rip the baby out of the womb of the mother just prior to the birth of the baby,” Trump said in the debate, referring to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s support for completely unlimited abortion. “Now, you can say that that is okay and Hillary can say that that is okay, but it’s not okay with me.”
His graphic description of the late term abortion drew widespread criticism, although it is true a woman can elect to have an abortion in some states at any point in her pregnancy. Late term abortions are typically done by injecting a drug into the baby’s head or chest to cause a heart attack and render the baby stillborn.
The procedure is wildly unpopular, even among women and pro-choice advocates, according to a January Marist poll commissioned by the Knights of Columbus. That poll found 81 percent of Americans think abortion should be restricted to the first trimester, including 82 percent of women and 66 percent of pro-choice supporters.
Although Senate Democrats blocked a 20-week abortion ban passed by the Republican-led House in 2015, a number of House and Senate Democrats voted in favor of the ban. Democrat Sens. Bob Casey, Joe Donnelly and Joe Manchin sided with Republicans in the Senate fight, and in the House Democratic Reps. Henry Cuellar, Daniel Lipinski, Jim Langevin and Collin Peterson voted to pass the ban.
Other Democrats opposed the 20-week abortion ban, but signed a more liberal late term abortion ban sponsored by House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer in 2005. The bill never advanced past the introduction stage, but Reps. Rosa DeLauro, Adam Schiff and Ron Kind cosponsored the late term abortion ban, along with Sen. Bob Menendez, who was then in the House.
“This bill offers a constitutional, common-sense, common-ground compromise in the abortion debate that protects mothers and viable fetuses,” Hoyer said in a statement when he introduced his bill in 2005.
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