Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke refused to voice support on Wednesday for a law that would protect babies who are born alive after surviving an abortion.
O'Rourke, who made the remarks in response to a question from a student at Plymouth State University, refused to signal support for the bill and instead deflected to saying that he trusts "women to make their own decisions about their own bodies."
"Thank you for being here," the student began. "You gave me a good excuse to be out of school. I wanted to ask you about a recent bill that just went through the Senate about two weeks ago and the bill was that if an abortion was performed on a viable fetus and the fetus survived the abortion the doctor would then be compelled to give that living baby the same care as any other pregnancy baby that came out and put that baby through the care."
"Would you support this bill that does not in any way limit abortion, it simply seeks to keep babies alive that have been born alive?" the student asked.
The student was referring to the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, which Fox News notes would require that "any health care practitioner present" at the time that the baby is born alive following an attempted abortion "exercise the same degree of professional skill, care, and diligence to preserve the life and health of the child as a reasonably diligent and conscientious health care practitioner would render to any other child born alive at the same gestational age."
"The way that I would approach your question and this issue generally is to trust women to make their own decisions about their own bodies," O'Rourke responded as the crowd cheered. "When I talk about universal guaranteed high quality healthcare for everyone this country, it's primary health care, it's mental health care, and it's women's health care and I'll tell you why."
"In my own state of Texas we have shut down, our state legislature, our governors, more than half the family planning clinics in our state making it that much harder for women to get a cervical cancer screening, see a family planning provider, or see a provider of any kind," O'Rourke continued. "We also, not coincidentally, are at the epicenter of a maternal mortality crisis that disproportionately affects women of color two to the three times the rate of white women in that state and across this country."
"So women's health care, reproductive rights, Roe versus Wade, all the way back to 1973, the law of the land, this next election will decide all of those issues because it will also decide the composition of the Supreme Court," O'Rourke added.
After making the highly controversial remarks, O'Rourke was confronted by a reporter who asked him how he would have voted on the bill if he was in the Senate.
O'Rourke said that he would have voted against it, again deflecting to his standard reponse on the issue: "I would have listened to the women."
Earlier this week O'Rourke voiced his support for third-term abortions, which include abortions all the way up till the moment of birth. O'Rourke doubled down on his support for the radical abortion stance, which a Gallup poll found only 13% of Americans support, when he was pressed on it again later in the week.