Via Joel Pollak, a stumper from an event in South Carolina. What’s the politic answer to give here if you’re a modern right-thinking “kill ’em up to the moment of crowning” liberal?

Clearly the answer Beto wants to give, the one that’s consonant with left-wing thinking, is “No, your life had no meaning until you were born.” But that’s a tough thing to say to someone’s face when he’s asking about his own life specifically. The less abstract and more concrete questions about abortion get, the more uncomfortable they are.

So no, O’Rourke won’t say that. “Of course I don’t think” that life has no meaning until birth, he says.

But that places him in the awkward position of arguing that meaningful lives are in fact being snuffed out every day in America’s abortion regime. A pro-choicer who takes the hardline view that fetal life isn’t “real” needn’t contend with the implications of ending that life. Beto’s not taking that view, so he does need to. But he punts: We shouldn’t question what a woman decides to do, he insists — period. If he had been feeling bolder, he might have gone on to compare abortion to justifiable homicide. Every life has meaning, he could have said, but there are certain rare circumstances in which the law subordinates the value of life to some greater interest. You’re allowed to take someone else’s life if they’re a lethal threat to your own. You’re allowed to take a murderer’s life in the death chamber if you’re a state-sanctioned executioner. It simply isn’t the case that “all life has meaning” inevitably leads to the conclusion “and therefore life can never rightly be taken.”

But that wouldn’t work either, since it would lead to another very uncomfortable question: If abortion is justifiable homicide, i.e. the taking of a life to serve some greater end, why don’t we demand that the women and doctors who commit it provide some specific justification for their actions? We scrutinize self-defense claims to make sure that the victim really was the aggressor and genuinely did pose a mortal threat to the defendant. We entitle condemned prisoners to a jury trial, a presentation of mitigating evidence during their sentencing phase, and many long years of appeal before executing them. When it comes to abortion, though, all a woman need say is “I felt like it” and that’s good enough for this clown and his clown party. No “medical necessity” required. Abortion might be the only form of homicide in which unjustifiable reasons suffice as a legal excuse.

This is a guy, remember, who frequently denounces Trump for “dehumanizing” people.