WASHINGTON ― Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton vowed during the third presidential debate Wednesday night to keep the government out of a woman’s decision to have an abortion, which she called the most “intimate” and “difficult” health care choice imaginable.
“I’ve been to countries where governments either force women to have abortions, like they used to do in China, or forced women to bear children, like they used to do in Romania,” Clinton said. “And I can tell you, the government has no business in the decisions that women make with their families in accordance with their faith and with medical advice. And I will stand up for that right.”
Clinton said she would defend federal family planning funding for Planned Parenthood, the country’s largest provider. And she promised to appoint Supreme Court justices who would uphold Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that protects a woman’s right to have an abortion up until the fetus would be viable outside the womb, around 22 weeks of pregnancy.
“So many states are putting very stringent regulations on women that block them from exercising that choice, to the extent that they are defunding Planned Parenthood, which of course provides all kinds of cancer screenings and other benefits for women in our country,” Clinton said. “Donald [Trump] has said he’s in favor of defunding Planned Parenthood. He even supported shutting the government down to defund Planned Parenthood.
“I will defend Planned Parenthood, she continued. “I will defend Roe v. Wade, and I will defend women’s rights to make their own health care decisions. We have come too far to have that turned back now.”
Trump, who has said women should face “some sort of punishment” for having abortions if they are banned, said he would make sure Roe is overturned.
“If we put another two or perhaps three justices on, that will happen,” the Republican nominee said. “That will happen automatically, in my opinion, because I am putting pro-life justices on the court.”
But Trump didn’t defend his opposition to abortion or Planned Parenthood funding during the debate. He went after Clinton on the issue, falsely accusing her of supporting the procedure up until “the final day” of pregnancy.
“If you go with what Hillary is saying, in the ninth month, you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb of the mother,” Trump said. “Just prior to the birth of the baby. You can say that that’s OK, and Hillary can say that that’s OK, but it’s not OK with me.”
In fact, Clinton has said she would support a ban on late-term abortions, if it includes an exception for the health and life of the mother.
“The kinds of cases that stall at the end of pregnancy are often the most heartbreaking, painful decisions for families to make,” Clinton said. “I have met with women who have, toward the end of their pregnancy, get the worst news one could get ― 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.”
Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.