Pete Buttigieg wants you to think that he is the moderate choice. But on abortion, he is anything but.
Buttigieg is an extremist whose views on ending life in the womb fall squarely outside the mainstream. According to a recent Marist poll, a solid two-thirds of registered voters want abortion limited to the first trimester of pregnancy, and that includes six in 10 Independents and almost half of all Democrats and even 47% of those who consider themselves pro-choice. More than two-thirds of Americans support laws that require abortions be performed by doctors with hospital admitting privileges, and solid majorities support required waiting periods and laws that mandate clinics show a woman her ultrasound before performing the abortion. As Gallup recently summed it up, “Majority in U.S. Still Want Abortion Legal, With Limits.”
Not Mayor Pete. In a town hall last year, the candidate was asked if he supported “any limit” at all on abortion. He answered, “The dialogue has got so caught up on where you draw the line that we’ve gotten away from the fundamental question of ‘Who gets to draw the line?’ And I trust women to draw the line when it’s their own life.”
Put differently, “No.”
When the question came to him again last month in another town hall from someone in his own party — the executive director of the Democrats for Life of America — he dodged again. “I am pro-choice,” he replied, “and I believe that a woman ought to be able to make that decision.” He followed with a fake olive branch. “The best that I can offer is that if we can’t agree on where to the draw the line, the next best thing we can agree on is who should draw the line. And in my view, it’s the woman faced with that decision in her own life.”
Pete Buttigieg was clearly taking notes during Sophistry 101.
The problem for him is that Americans’ B.S. detector is on heightened alert, as evidenced by the record-high support for President Trump and the resurrection of Bernie Sanders. Sanders is to the Democrats what Trump was to the Republicans in 2016, a plain-speaking disruptor who doesn’t play coy when it comes to policy. Bernie doesn’t act cute about late-term abortion; he supports it, and he can and will tell you why.
Buttigieg, on the other hand, wants to be the party’s next Obama. He wants the party’s support, and the party platform not only supports abortion on demand for any reason, but has even recently taken steps to support it on taxpayers’ dime. Oh, and without apology. Buttigieg wants the backing of both a party elite that is extreme on abortion and an electorate that is quite moderate and trending more so almost daily. Clarifying that yes, he does fully support late-term abortion, a grisly procedure that involves blood and the breaking of fully formed bones, doesn’t go well with his baby face look. He is “a wolf in Planned Parenthood clothing,” as Mary Eberstadt has described other pro-choice heroes who try to make their pro-choiceness look sexy.
And then there is the pesky problem of his very short record, which includes blocking a pregnancy resource center in his town of South Bend, Ind., while concurrently green-lighting the construction and opening of an abortion clinic that has yet to be licensed. Yes, Mayor Pete supports the safety of women so much that he waived through an abortion clinic that couldn’t even get licensed by the Indiana State Department of Health. The horror story of Ulrich Klopfer, who hoarded thousands of bags of fetal remains with impunity for decades right there in South Bend, didn’t seem to convince Buttigieg that opening an unlicensed clinic, dinged for failing to meet the requirement of “reputable and responsible character,” was a bad idea. That reeks of ideological extremism.
So no, Pete Buttigieg is no moderate on abortion. Rather, he has a square peg, round hole problem. Voters don’t want an abortion extremist. What they want even less is a candidate who is one and panders as a moderate. The days of duping American voters appear to be over.