MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski called out Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie in a tense exchange on Tuesday’s “Morning Joe” over his misleading comments about abortion later in pregnancy.
Christie, a former New Jersey governor, said on the show that he believes the issue of abortion “should be up to the states.”
“The states have the rights to do what they want to do,” he said. “And yet, in my state of New Jersey, it’s abortion up to nine months. I don’t agree with that …”
“It’s not an abortion at nine months,” Brzezinski pushed back. “And there’s not a doctor that would do it. And it only happens in extremely severe circumstances.”
“You can come back and bring me the evidence of women across the state of New Jersey having abortions in the ninth month,” she added. “It’s not happening, Chris. C’mon.”
Christie argued that “we’re talking about what the law should be.”
“You said this the last time you were on, and I let it go. I can’t let it go again,” Brzezinski said. “There’s no abortions in the ninth month.”
Abortion is legal throughout pregnancy in New Jersey. Anti-abortion groups and politicians have seized on the fact that New Jersey and several other states do not explicitly prohibit abortion at any stage of pregnancy as evidence that so-called “late-term abortions” could occur.
The vast majority of abortions are performed during the first trimester of pregnancy. Less than 1% of abortions occur after 21 weeks gestation, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Procedures performed late in pregnancy are typically for urgent medical reasons, and according to health experts are not abortions.
New Jersey abortion providers do not perform the procedure after 24 to 26 weeks, Dr. Glenmarie Matthews, director of the Reproductive Choice Program at New Jersey Medical School, told PolitiFact last year.
A procedure near the end of pregnancy would be induced labor, not an abortion, she said. “It doesn’t exist,” the doctor told PolitiFact. “People are just using their wild imaginations.”
Christie has made similar comments on several occasions. He told NPR earlier this month he disagrees with Oklahoma’s near-total abortion ban, but thinks “New Jersey allowing abortions up to the ninth month of pregnancy is too lenient.”
Watch the exchange on MSNBC below.