Pete Buttigieg, a top contender for the Democratic presidential nomination, stood firm on his radical views on abortion Thursday when Meghan McCain, one of the co-hosts of “The View,” pressed the 37-year-old candidate on the issue.
McCain specifically asked Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, about a recent radio interview during which he asserted that life begins “with breath,” arguing an unborn child is not actually human until he or she breathes air outside the womb for the first time.
“There’s a lot of parts of the Bible that talk about how life begins with breath,” Buttigieg said at the time. “And so even that is something that we can interpret differently.”
“In my circles,” McCain explained, “it was passed around because I think the interpretation from pro-life people like me was that you meant a baby actually being born and there’s a lot of controversy with … what it means and what time a woman should be able to have an abortion. I wanted you to clarify because I found that statement to be pretty radical.”
Buttigieg really sidestepped McCain’s question by instead telling her that people “interpret their own moral lights, and for that matter, interpret Scripture differently.”
Unsatisfied with his avoidant answer, the ABC co-host asked Buttigieg if he supports partial-birth abortion, to which he said it is not “up to a government official to draw the line.”
McCain then asked the 2020 candidate if he would be OK with a woman who just delivered her baby saying she wanted to “invoke infanticide” — something Buttigieg asserted doesn’t happen (though, it should be noted, that’s exactly what Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, endorsed last year).
Buttigieg then created a scenario that is seemingly fairly unlikely:
Think about the situation. If this is a late-term situation, then by definition, it’s one where a woman was expecting to carry the pregnancy to term. Then she gets the most, perhaps, devastating news of her life. We’re talking about families that may have picked out a name, maybe assembling a crib, and they learn something excruciating, and are faced with this terrible choice. And I don’t know what to tell them, morally, about what they should do. I just know that I trust — and her decision, medically or morally, isn’t going to be any better because the government is commanding her to do it.
Frustrated by the dialogue, McCain assured Buttigieg, an Episcopal Christian, that his radical position on abortion would hurt him when he tries to court Trump-wary Republicans in the middle of the country.
“To put a peg on this,” she said, “I respect what you’re saying, because you didn’t back down from it. This is going to hurt you in the middle of the country with the Republicans you’re trying to win over.”
“Quite frankly,” she added, “that answer was just as radical as I thought it was. Sorry.”