For anyone paying any amount of attention to the already large roster of Democrats running for president in 2020, you’ll know the most outwardly religious candidate has been South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg. He’s linked nearly every platform issue to his Christianity, but when it comes to abortion, faith is apparently not a factor.
Last week, Buttigieg, who is Episcopalian, appeared on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” where (surprisingly) host Willie Geist tried repeatedly to get a straight answer from the mayor on late-term abortion and how he squares the issue with his faith. Buttigieg wiggled his way out of ever giving an explanation, instead spouting out some sort of progressive buzzword salad.
Geist noted that Buttigieg’s religion has piqued the interest of some Christian conservatives who, even if they don’t plan to vote for him, are somewhat intrigued by his willingness to engage his faith — something that, prior to President Donald Trump’s election in 2016, not many Democrats were interested in doing.
“They like you,” the MSNBC host said. “But they get to the point where they look down your résumé and they say life is precious. They talk about the sanctity of life and they can’t get past your support of late-term abortion. What do you say to them?”
Rather than give any sort of faith-based answer, which has been Buttigieg’s main calling card in recent weeks, the 37-year-old politician (he’d be the country’s youngest president) never once invoked his Christianity, perhaps because to do so would most certainly disallow him from maintaining his very pro-abortion views.
He went on to claim, over the course of nearly five minutes, that abortion is a “personal decision” for women to make, arguing those in the pro-life camp are asking “misleading questions” because, in his mind, the morality of abortion — despite plenty of scientific evidence pointing to fetal viability and numerous Bible passages speaking to the innate value of a person — is “unknowable.”
Geist, thankfully, didn’t let Buttigieg off that easily. The 2020 candidate tried to make what is a very black-and-white issue some shade of gray. So the MSNBC host pressed more:
But to people who would criticize that, they would say actually it’s a pretty easy — that is a fundamental child in the third term of pregnancy, that is a human being who could be born alive and have a great and full life. So it is a pretty easy question.
Buttigieg continued to argue the question is “misleading” because, according to him, virtually any woman who obtains a late-term abortion was (1) planning to carry the baby to term but had to abort the pregnancy because of unforeseen issues or (2) was facing some sort of previously unexpected health risk.
He’s wrong scientifically
The truth, though, is that abortion is very rarely necessary to save the life of the mother. It is true there are instances in which abortion is performed to save the mother’s life, but they are exceedingly uncommon. In 2013, a former abortionist, Dr. Anthony Levatino, told Congress late-term abortion is not a viable treatment for at-risk mothers, arguing it simply takes too long (between 36-72 hours).
And in 2010, Dr. Mary Davenport argued late-term abortion is unnecessary given the medical and technological advancements that have occurred over the years:
Intentional abortion for maternal health, particularly after viability, is one of the great deceptions used to justify all abortion. The very fact that the baby of an ill mother is viable raises the question of why, indeed, it is necessary to perform an abortion to end the pregnancy. With any serious maternal health problem, termination of pregnancy can be accomplished by inducing labor or performing a cesarean section, saving both mother and baby. If a mother needs radiation or chemotherapy for cancer, the mother’s treatment can be postponed until viability, or regimens can be selected that will be better tolerated by the unborn baby. In modern neonatal intensive care units, 90 percent of babies at 28 weeks survive, as do a significant percentage of those at earlier gestations.
Buttigieg is answering a question with scientifically dated information.
He’s wrong morally
From a Christian standpoint, the Indiana politician is just flat-out wrong. He told Geist the morality of abortion is “unknowable,” but as someone who prides himself on his Christian credentials, certainly Buttigieg must be aware of what the Bible says about the value of human life.
In Psalm 139, David wrote that God “knitted me together in my mother’s womb.” He went on to declare that he is “fearfully and wonderfully made.” In Psalm 127, he described children as a “heritage from the Lord.” And all throughout Scripture, the Bible’s writers, in both the Old and New Testaments, proclaim God made human beings in his image.
So the question of who should be deciding whether an unborn human life is ended — the mother or the government — seems utterly misguided. Instead, the question should be whether the decision is allowed at all, and a cursory review of Scripture makes clear that it should not be permissible.
Christians who are pro-life aren’t arguing the government should make a decision for a pregnant woman; they are claiming the decision is an immoral one and simply shouldn’t be available to begin with, because it endangers the one party — the unborn child — who cannot speak for him or herself.
Buttigieg has made much of his Christian faith and the need to legislate morally. It’s certainly disappointing to see him turn into a shrinking violet when he’s asked to apply those same convictions to one of the most pressing issues in American culture.