A Response to Keren Neugroschl: What the Democratic Party Obscures on Abortion

By: Avi Strauss  |  December 26, 2016

wasserman-schultz-vs-kellyI am not writing this response to stand by or endorse Ben Shapiro—his views in general, or his views on abortion in particular. However, I do wish to comment on Ms. Neugroschl’s presentation of the Democratic Party’s position on the issue of late-term abortion.

Neugroschl, took issue with Shapiro’s claim that the Democratic party supports abortion “under any circumstances up to the point of birth.” And while the Democratic Party doesn’t explicitly endorse this position, it’s worthwhile to note that their platform is intentionally vague on the subject, merely claiming “that every woman should have access to quality reproductive health care services, including safe and legal abortion—regardless of where she lives, how much money she makes, or how she is insured.” There is no mention of a specific time to which the Democratic Party believes abortion should be limited. Of course, if the party believed strongly that late-term abortions should be legal but rare, this would be the place to state that unequivocally.

Now, that on its own wouldn’t be enough to claim in the affirmative that the Democrats in fact support unfettered abortion until live birth. Yet, by paying attention to how the leaders of the Democratic Party evade questions on the subject of limiting abortion, the picture of their views comes more into focus.

After condemning a bill that would prevent abortion in the final four months of a pregnancy with exceptions for the life and physical health of the mother in 2013, former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi refused to answer what distinguished such late-term abortions from the ones performed by Dr. Kermit Gosnell.

For those unfamiliar, Gosnell was sent to prison for murdering three infants after botched abortions. As reported in the Washington Post, Gosnell’s clinic was notorious for performing abortions beyond the 24-week mark, which Pennsylvania law had barred. Pelosi refused to answer on the grounds that the topic of abortion was “sacred ground” for her as a Catholic. Her evasion is especially noteworthy when considering that Pelosi is one of the most significant Democratic legislators in Congress and has led the Democratic wing of the House of Representatives since 2006.

Former Democratic National Convention (DNC) chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz had her own version of an evasion in response to a question from Fox News host Megyn Kelly, prompted by a comment from Senator Rand Paul. Earlier in that news cycle, Paul, a doctor himself, became frustrated with constantly being asked for his opinion on abortion. At a certain point during an interview, he chided reporters to ask DNC chair Wasserman-Schultz whether or not it was “OK to kill a seven-pound baby in the uterus?” Kelly took up the cause and questioned Wasserman-Schultz on air. Wasserman-Schultz responded: “So, from my perspective, from my party’s perspective, we do not support rolling back the protection that the Constitutional right to make your own reproductive choices established in Roe versus Wade has given to women. What is appropriate, from our perspective, I’ll speak for myself but I think I can speak for most of my party (emphasis added), and that is that a woman’s right to make her own decisions about her body should be between her and her doctor.

So the DNC chair, confident she could speak on behalf of most of her party, declined an open invitation to disavow aborting 7-pound healthy fetuses. She made no qualification about the health of the mother. She made no mention about birth defects. She simply said the decision should be left to a woman and her doctor.

When both Pelosi and Wasserman-Schultz, two of the most consequential Democratic leaders and legislators of recent times, refuse to answer the tough questions about actual abortion restrictions, it does call into question how extreme the Democratic Party’s position may actually be.

Additionally, since Neugroschl brought up the percentage (1.2%) of “late-term” abortions that are actually performed, I feel it is necessary to cite the number of those abortions that actually occur.  Since there are over 1 million abortions performed in America every year, this roughly equals 12,000 late-term abortions. Fractions and percentages aside, I think most people would find this sheer number horrifying, especially when considering as much as 59% of Americans support a ban on abortions past the 20-week mark (and might be as high as 80% of millennials).

Also, it is noteworthy that America is one of seven countries on the entire planet (we join China and North Korea on this list) that permits late-term abortion, largely due to legislation proposed by Democrats or blocked by them, in the wake of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision.

This isn’t to say I support the Republican Party’s stance on abortion, nor is this letter in any way meant to directly express an opinion on Torah Judaism’s stance on the matter. But if we are going to discuss this issue honestly, we must make clear what the leading legislators of the Democratic Party refuse to discuss.