Like most post-debate days, many people today are focusing on Donald Trump’s negative statements and offensive remarks during Wednesday’s presidential debate (here’s looking at all you nasty women out there). But let’s not lose sight of what Hillary Clinton did last night. When the debate turned to abortion, Clinton adamantly, even righteously, defended women’s rights over their bodies.
During the final presidential debate, moderator Chris Wallace asked Trump if he supported overturning Roe v. Wade, the court case that famously legalized abortion. Trump avoided answering directly, as he is prone to do, but did say he would put two to three more pro-life justices on the Supreme Court if elected. Clinton, who has campaigned for women’s health for decades, did not shy away from clearly stating her position.
“So many states are putting very stringent regulations on women that block them from exercising that right to the extent that they’re defunding Planned Parenthood,” Clinton said. “I will defend Planned Parenthood, I will defend Roe v. Wade, and I will defend women’s rights to make their own healthcare decisions. We’ve come too far to have that turn back now.”
Wallace then asked a follow-up question on Clinton’s position on late-term abortions, and why she voted against a bill that would ban the procedure.
“I have met with women who, toward the end of their pregnancy, get the worst news one can get,” Clinton said. “That their health is in jeopardy if they continue to carry to term, or that something terrible has happened or just been discovered about the pregnancy. I do not think the United States government should be stepping in and making those most personal of decisions.”
Basically, if a woman finds out late in her pregnancy that her baby will not survive once delivered (like this woman), she should not have to carry the fetus to term. Or, as Clinton asserted, it should be entirely her choice whether she does or does not follow through with the pregnancy.
It’s also worth noting that there is some controversy as to what is considered “late term.” Many professionals consider the marking point to be 24 weeks, but there is no definitive answer. Regardless, you’d be hard pressed to find a medical professional in the U.S. who would “rip a baby out of the womb” on their due date, regardless of what Trump said during the discussion. (Unless he was confused and referring to a Caesarean section which is, of course, a legal and frequently performed procedure.)
Clinton’s response not only conveyed the painful and emotional experiences that come with a late-term abortion, but it encapsulated the urgency of this issue. This is a women’s issue. Right-wing male politicians discuss abortion from the perspective of the baby, while pro-choice male politicians speak as exactly what they are, well-meaning men with no real experience on the matter. Clinton spoke as a woman; a woman who personally understands how important it is for women to have control over their bodies, because we didn’t have that in the past, and many of us still don’t have it today.
Her response was also the closest we’ve seen her come to outright anger during these debates, which truly served as a reminder that Clinton is a seasoned women’s rights advocate. She has been fighting this fight for years, and she will continue to fight it as our president.
Screenshot via the AP, video via ABC News
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