But in one sense, O’Rourke’s comments are highly interesting, because they indicate that he has decided not to invoke the usual Democratic defense of third-trimester abortion: the claim that these procedures only take place in cases when fetuses are gravely ill or when a continuation of pregnancy presents a grave threat to a mother’s life.
This sort of defense, of course, is inaccurate. Most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy take place for reasons other than fetal- or maternal-health complications, and directly aborting a fetus rather than ending a pregnancy via C-section delivery is never medically necessary. But Beto doesn’t even bother to pay lip service to the usual line. Instead, he simply says he trusts women and defers to Roe.
Perhaps even more interesting is the fact that Roe and subsequent jurisprudence contradict O’Rourke’s blanket permissiveness of a woman’s right to choose for abortion in all circumstances. Both Roe v. Wade and the subsequent Planned Parenthood v. Casey affirmed the state’s right to regulate abortion later in pregnancy, after the point of fetal viability. O’Rourke says he supports Roe even as he says he will never question a woman’s choice to abort.