Bernie Sanders recently defended late-term abortions because they are rare. The unspoken implication is that the death of an innocent, unimaginably vulnerable human life is acceptable if it doesn’t happen very often.
He further argued that the choice to kill a prenatal child to end a pregnancy should be left up to the woman, free from government interference.
Oddly, like his counterparts on the left, Sanders has a libertarian position on abortion.
According to the pro-choice Guttmacher Institute, about 1.3 percent of abortions take place after 20 weeks—which means that at least 11,427 prenatal children who were five months old or older were killed in 2017. Some states, including New York and California, do not report their abortions, so their numbers are actually significantly higher, considering that those two states have the highest numbers of abortion in the nation.
The death penalty is much rarer than late-term abortion. According to the Death Penalty Information Center, 25 death-row inmates were executed in 2018.
Sanders opposes the death penalty because “too many innocent people have been executed.” He said that “in a world of so much violence and killing,” the “government should not be part of the process.” He has called for the federal government to ban the death penalty.
By Bernie Sanders’ standard, the number of people killed by gun violence is also rare. According to the FBI, 11,004 people died by gun violence in 2016. One would be hard-pressed to find anyone to say that, because gun violence is rare, it should be legally permissible.
In his campaign announcement speech, Sanders argued passionately for ending the “epidemic of gun violence in this country,” suggesting ways the government can step in to help decrease violence in our society.
But roughly the same number of human beings are killed via late-term abortion as die by gun violence.
Some argue that late-term abortions are done only when either the mother or the child has a severe medical issue. But as research done by Secular Pro-Life has shown, this is not the case. The most common reasons for late-term abortion are women not realizing they are pregnant; not having the money for an abortion earlier in the pregnancy; and having difficulty making a decision in the first few months.
For the overwhelming majority of Americans, allowing a baby to be killed by late-term abortion is unthinkable. Recent Gallup polls indicate that 72 percent of Americans oppose abortion in the second trimester, and 87 percent oppose abortion in the third trimester.
Recent efforts to remove reasonable regulation and limits at these stages will not attract new voters. In fact, it may cause people to look for alternatives.
Hillary Clinton ignored pro-life voters in 2016 and made a strategic error when she also embraced broadly legal late-term abortion. Many pro-life Democrats and independent voters, who were not very excited about the Democratic nominee in the first place, simply did not vote in 2016. She lost states that she should have won—such as Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania—in which the public has a complex view on abortion.
As this familiar script plays out again, Democrats are providing Republicans with plenty of ammunition to target them as an extreme abortion-rights party. When Virginia and New Mexico attempted to follow New York’s permissive abortion law, public opinion shifted 17 points from pro-choice to pro-life.
Democrats are also taking a stand against providing health care for babies who survive abortion. Again, the attack ads really write themselves, particularly against a party that wants “health care for all.”
America has a rich tradition of expanding human rights for all of its people. Protecting these tiny people in the womb is, in fact, the most significant human-rights issue of our time.
Pro-life voters, particularly Democrats and independents in New Hampshire, need to start asking more questions of the Democratic candidates and challenge them for more consistency on ending violence in our society.
Allowing the violence of late-term abortion to continue because it is “rare” is not an answer. It is an excuse to allow that violence to continue against human beings just because they are deemed unworthy or unwanted.