The Democratic presidential candidates have “coalesced” around an abortion rights platform that is more far-reaching – and more radical from a pro-life perspective – than any Democratic field ever, according to a New York Times survey.
The Times asked the candidates a series of questions about their position on abortion and also studied their public statements and platforms.
Every Democratic candidate that was surveyed – including Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg – supports passing a nationwide law backing legal abortion, thus codifying Roe v. Wade.
Biden, Warren, Sanders and Buttigieg are the only four candidates polling above 10 percent in the RealClearPolitics.com average of surveys.
Every Democratic candidate that was surveyed also supports taxpayer funding for abortion and repeal of the Hyde Amendment.
Every candidate except two (Joe Sestak and Tulsi Gabbard) oppose restrictions on third-trimester abortions.
“The Democratic presidential field has coalesced around an abortion rights agenda more far-reaching than anything past nominees have proposed,” the Times reported, adding that their positions “reflect a fundamental change in the Democratic Party’s approach to reproductive issues.
“In other areas, from health care to taxes, there is a divide between liberal and moderate candidates,” the Times reported. “Here, it is minimal.”
Nine candidates (including Warren, Sanders and Buttigieg) favor a “federal preclearance requirement” before states can enforce pro-life laws. (Biden did not provide an answer.)
Seven candidates (including Warren and Buttigieg) would make the abortion pill available over the counter. Biden and Sanders did not provide an answer.
“A common thread in the candidates’ answers was a firm belief that the public is on their side,” the Times reported.
But polling does not back up that claim. This year’s Gallup survey showed only 25 percent of Americans believe abortion should always be legal. Even among Democrats, only 39 percent in this year’s Gallup poll said abortion should have no restrictions.
Additionally, 51 percent of women call themselves pro-life – a higher percentage than men (46 percent).
The Democratic candidates, though, are betting their positions will attract support.
“They’re setting the tone that this is something we should own proudly,” Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, told the Times, “and not just react to when something happens.”
Michael Foust is a freelance writer. Visit his blog, MichaelFoust.com.
Photo courtesy: Getty Images/Alex Wong