Democratic Convention: Joe Biden Image & Policy Should Be Focus

The Post‘s “fact check” on the convention speeches last night includes this passage:

Most abortions are performed in the earlier stages of pregnancy. About 1 percent happen after the fetus reaches the point of viability. In short, [RNC chairwoman Ronna] McDaniel and the president are describing something that rarely happens and that no Democrat is calling for, anyway.

Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and some others who competed in the Democratic presidential primary said they favored having no restrictions on abortion.

Biden does not take such a sweeping position; he supports abortion rights and says he would codify in statute the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in Roe v. Wade and related precedents.

Experts told us that support for abortion rights doesn’t mean Democrats support “extreme late-term abortions.” “That’s like saying everyone who ‘supports’ the Second Amendment ‘supports’ school shootings,” Katie L. Watson, a professor at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, previously told The Fact Checker. “ ‘Abortion until the moment of birth’ does not exist — it’s a boogeyman abortion opponents have created to frighten voters and derail rational conversation about constitutional rights,” Watson said. “Nobody ‘supports’ it, and nobody does it. No patient ever asks a physician to end her pregnancy ‘the moment before birth,’ and no physician would agree to do it.”

Biden, exactly like Warren and Sanders, believes that abortion should be allowed, even late in pregnancy, if needed to preserve a woman’s emotional health. That’s what those “related precedents” (chiefly Doe v. Bolton, Roe‘s companion case) suggest.

Watson’s parallel would work if Second Amendment activists believed that school shootings should be legal. Of course, they don’t.

A previous Post fact-check estimated (conservatively, insofar as it is using CDC numbers for the incidence of abortion) that more than 8,000 abortions are performed each year after viability. In the 2018-19 school year, there were 13 school-shooting deaths (according to Wikipedia). It is not my impression that the Post treats school-shooting deaths as events so rare that politicians should stop talking about them.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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