In a heated debate in Brooklyn, New York, CNN moderators grilled Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton about their differences on Wall Street, gun control, the minimum wage, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, among other topics. Completely missing from the New York debate and every other Democratic debate this cycle, however, was a question on abortion and other reproductive rights. While fielding a question on the future of the U.S. Supreme Court, Clinton drew one of the biggest audience cheers of the night by calling attention this glaring omission.
“We’ve not had one question about a woman’s right to make her own decisions about reproductive health care, not one question,” Clinton said. “And in the meantime we have states, governors doing everything they can to restrict women’s rights. We have a presidential candidate by the name of Donald Trump saying that women should be punished and we are never asked about this.”
Sanders and Clinton were asked for their position on abortion in a Fox News town hall in April, but the topic has not made it into any of the nine official Democratic debates. As Clinton mentioned, many Republican-controlled state legislatures and Republican governors have moved in recent months to strip funding from women’s health organizations like Planned Parenthood, as have Republicans in the U.S. Congress.
“It goes to the heart of who we are as women, our rights, our autonomy, our ability to make our own decisions, and we need to be talking about that and defending Planned Parenthood from these outrageous attacks,” added Clinton.
Asked to jump in, Sen. Bernie Sanders boasted of his “100 percent pro-choice voting record” and vowed, if elected, to “take on those Republican governors who are trying to restrict a woman’s right to choose.” He added that rather than defunding Planned Parenthood, as several GOP candidates have vowed to do, he would expand funding for the organization.