Democratic 2020 hopeful Beto O’Rourke was asked Monday by a voter in South Carolina if his life had any “value” before the day he was born — leading the former congressman to declare that it’s a decision “for the woman to make.”
“My question is this: I was born Sept. 8th, 1989, and I want to know if you think on Sept. 7th, 1989, my life had no value,” the unidentified man asked, in remarks first reported by Breitbart News.
He was apparently referencing an answer O’Rourke gave in Ohio where he was asked about third-trimester abortions and said, “That should be a decision that the woman makes. I trust her.” On Monday, he gave a similar answer, adding only that he didn’t think that the man’s life had no value before he was born.
Responding to the voter's question, O'Rourke said: “Of course I don’t think that. And of course I’m glad that you’re here. But you referenced my answer in Ohio, and it remains the same. This is a decision that neither you, nor I, nor the United States government should be making,” O’Rourke said.
“That’s a decision for the woman to make,” he said to loud applause from supporters.
The group Susan B. Anthony List, which opposes abortion, called the comments "sick."
His remarks come as Democratic hopefuls have increasingly moved away from stances that impose nearly any restriction on access to abortion – just as some Republican states have toughened restrictions on abortions – possibly setting up a future court challenge to the Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision that found a constitutional right to an abortion.
All prominent Democratic 2020 presidential hopefuls in the Senate in February voted down The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, including Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Kamala Harris of California, Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.
O’Rourke on Monday described what he saw as an “attack on Roe v. Wade" from conservative politicians and activists across the country. He said that that attack was turning Texas into an epicenter of “this maternal mortality crisis” due to increased restrictions on abortion, as well as what he said was a refusal from the state's lawmakers to expand Medicaid.
“I don’t question the decisions that a woman makes. Only a woman knows what she knows, and I want to trust her with that,” he said.
Fox News' Gregg Re contributed to this report.