Appearing on Fox News for a Presidential town hall on Sunday, June 2, candidate Kristen Gillibrand was asked about her position on late-term abortion. In her answer, Gillibrand spoke out against the dissemination of false information by Fox News in the past, prompting an interruption from host Chris Wallace, who said she wasn't being very "polite."
As part of her answer, Gillibrand told the audience:
"What we've created, unfortunately, is a false choice and a false narrative. Chris, I want to talk about the role Fox News plays in this, because it's a problem. I can tell you before President Trump gave his State of the Union, Fox News talked about infanticide. Infanticide doesn't exist."
Wallace quickly jumped in, accusing Gillibrand of being impolite:
"I understand, maybe to make your credentials with the Democrats who are not appearing on Fox News, you are going to attack us. I'm not sure, frankly, it's not very polite when we've invited you to be here."
Gillibrand assuaged Wallace, saying she would address the question "in a polite way" and continuing:
"[Abortion is] a human right, it's about having bodily autonomy, it's about being able to control your physical self. So let women make these most personal decisions."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, just over 1% of abortions take place after 21 weeks (which is classified as "late-term"). These procedures, however, garner huge amounts of criticism from conservatives hoping to ban abortion altogether.
While Democratic 2020 candidates like Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg have appeared on Fox News for town halls, other prominent presidential hopefuls like Elizabeth Warren have declined the network's invitation to appear. Warren even went so far as to call Fox News a "hate-for-profit racket" in a written statement:
"Hate-for-profit works only if there's profit, so Fox News balances a mix of bigotry, racism, and outright lies with enough legit journalism to make the claim to advertisers that it's a reputable news outlet. It's all about dragging in ad money — big ad money...A Democratic town hall gives the Fox News sales team a way to tell potential sponsors it's safe to buy ads on Fox. I won't ask millions of Democratic primary voters to tune into an outlet that profits from racism and hate."
During a similar question during Buttigieg's town hall, Wallace called out the mayor of South Bend on late-term abortions as well, noting that over 6,000 women a year receive abortions after 21 weeks. Many thought Buttigieg got the better of the exchange with his response:
"Just over 1% of abortions are performed at 21 weeks [which is before the third trimester], or later, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports abortion rights. An abortion after that time would likely occur because of a serious fetal anomaly or for the health of the woman. The vast majority of abortions — 89% — are done in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
Let's put ourselves in the shoes of a woman in that situation. If it's that late in your pregnancy ... it's [almost to the point] that you've been expecting to carry it to term. Families ... then get the most devastating medical news of their lifetime. ... That decision is not going to be made any better, medically or morally, because the government is dictating how that decision should be made."
Many Twitter users thought Gillibrand had been treated unfairly by Wallace.
Gillibrand would lock horns with Wallace again later in the town hall when the host asked what she meant by a tweet saying "the future is female." Wallace seemed confused and asked what would happen to men going forward. Gillibrand responded:
"They're already there. Do you not know?"
Though Gillibrand has struggled recently in early polling, the 2020 Presidential race is far from over and she has already qualified for the Democratic primary debates. The New York Senator still has quite a bit left to show!