Mary Margaret Olohan, DCNF
- Leading New York mayoral candidate Andrew Yang distanced himself Saturday from comments he had made discouraging the celebration of abortion.
- The former presidential candidate said during a February 2020 event that “women’s reproductive rights are sacrosanct and should be protected at the highest levels” but that Democrats “have to get back to the point where no one is suggesting that we be celebrating an abortion at any point in the pregnancy.”
- “I’ve been a champion of women’s reproductive rights from Day One because it’s the right thing to do on every level,” Yang said Saturday in response to criticism.
Leading New York mayoral candidate Andrew Yang distanced himself Saturday from previous comments he made discouraging celebrating abortion “at any point in the pregnancy.”
“I’ve been a champion of women’s reproductive rights from Day One because it’s the right thing to do on every level,” Yang said Saturday, according to Politico, responding to criticism over his former comments during a campaign event.
“I’m relatively absolutist on the fact that it should be up to a woman to decide what to do,” he said. “My stance on [late-term abortion] is identical — it should be up to a woman to determine what to do in concert with her physician.”
The former presidential candidate said during a February 2020 event that while “women’s reproductive rights are sacrosanct and should be protected at the highest levels,” Democrats “have to get back to the point where no one is suggesting that we be celebrating an abortion at any point in the pregnancy,” as he responded to a question about late term abortions, according to Politico.
Yang’s remarks were a departure from Democratic messaging on abortion — during the same forum, former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders said that “being pro-choice is an essential part” of being a Democrat. Most of the other presidential candidates embraced unrestricted abortion access or would not say when they would draw the line on abortion.
Yang on late-term abortions #OurRightsOurCourts: “We have to get back to the point where nobody should be celebrating abortion… it’s a tragedy, to me, if someone decides they don’t want to have a child… celebrating children, family, these are universal human values” pic.twitter.com/HdgFsTZzO8
— Andrew Solender (@AndrewSolender) February 8, 2020
The video that circulated Friday did not include the questions leading up to Yang’s comments, Politico noted, which took place in a 26-minute-long interview.
“Even people who are pro abortion rights — some aren’t that comfortable with this idea,” MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle said to Yang. “How are you sensitive to those people? How do you win their support while also taking the position that you do personally?”
“It’s a tragedy to me if someone decides that they don’t want to have a child and they’re on the fence,” Yang responded. “I mean it’s a very difficult personal decision and it should be something we’re very very sensitive to.”
“I think that celebrating children, family — like these are universal human values,” he said. “And if we manage to lead on that and then say, ‘But we also stand for women’s reproductive rights,’ I believe we can bring Americans closer together on a really, really important personal issue.”
A video of Yang’s comments began re-circulating on Twitter Friday night.
“WTF is this garbage??? Seriously. This is beyond the pale,” tweeted former New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “I have sole authority in all that pertains to my body INCLUDING choosing NOT to have children. Ain’t nothing tragic about it dude. Ever. #MyBodyMyChoice.“
Planned Parenthood’s senior vice president objected to Yang’s use of the word “tragedy.”
“A tragedy to decide not to have children??? In 2021? In a global pandemic? In a global climate crisis? In a systemic racism crisis? People should be forced to have kids? No sir,” Melanie Roussell Newman tweeted.
Yang’s fellow mayoral candidate Maya Wiley tweeted that “Political leaders should fight to expand access for those who need it, not make them feel convicted in the court of public opinion for taking control of their health & body.”
Repro choices, incl. abortion, is health care. It's often life-saving health care, esp. for women of color. Political leaders should fight to expand access for those who need it, not make them feel convicted in the court of public opinion for taking control of their health & body
— Maya Wiley (@mayawiley) April 10, 2021
New York state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi also criticized Yang’s former comments, tweeting, “@AndrewYang attempts to control women’s bodies and actions—by laws, by words, by religions, by governments, and by societies spans thousands of years. Don’t be one of those guys—whose words perpetuate misogyny by making women bad for celebrating their right to choose.”
Jeremy Edwards, the spokesman for mayoral candidate Shaun Donovan, used the moment to highlight Yang’s media hits on conservative or more right-leaning outlets and podcasts, tweeting, “This is what happens when you spend a majority of your time on the right wing podcast circuit—you eventually start parroting their talking points.”
Yang suggested Saturday that the criticism was a political tactic from his opponents.
“I can’t speak to why other campaigns do what they do,” Yang said, according to Politico. “I will say we’re focused on sending a positive message about where the city needs to go, and we’re focused on that every single day.”
Yang did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.
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