Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke answered evasively when asked about his stance on third-trimester abortion during a campaign event in Cleveland on Monday.
O'Rourke, who announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination last week, has already been criticized for a lack of concrete positions on crucial campaign issues.
Here's the exchange between O'Rourke and the event attendee:
Attendee: Are you for third-trimester abortion or are you going to protect the lives of third-trimester babies? Because there is really not a medical necessity for abortion, it's not a medical emergency procedure because typically, third-trimester abortions take up to three days to have. So in that sense, if there was an emergency, the doctors would just do a C-section and you don't have to kill the baby in that essence. So, are you for or against third-trimester abortions?
O'Rourke: So the question is about abortion and reproductive rights, and my answer to you is that should be a decision that the woman makes. I trust her. So that's my answer.
O'Rourke then quickly moved on to the next question at the event.
Two things to note about this exchange: First, the woman asked a very detailed question about a potential scenario that is commonly cited as a reason that third-trimester abortions are necessary. O'Rourke, when he summarized that question for those who couldn't hear the woman, did not accurately represent what she asked.
Second, O'Rourke did not actually answer her question. Both at the beginning and the end of her remarks, the woman directly asked O'Rourke a yes-or-no question: Are you for third-trimester abortion? Instead of directly taking a position, he gave a generic applause line about how the woman should decide.
Considering there is significant disagreement on this issue among women, among doctors, and among U.S. citizens in general, O'Rourke's answer fails to accomplish anything besides helping him escape an uncomfortable topic.
Watch a clip of the interaction below: