The Democratic Candidates Haven’t Been Asked About Abortion In Their Debates


Sunday evening’s Democratic presidential debate in Flint, Michigan, was the seventh to conclude without a single question about abortion access.


Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) both oppose Republican-backed restrictions on abortion and support broadening access to contraception. The networks’ reluctance to ask them about reproductive health suggests they think agreement would make for a boring question, even though they ask the candidates about issues on which they agree all the time. Sanders and Clinton’s Republican counterparts, who all oppose abortion to varying degrees, have been asked about abortion and Planned Parenthood in multiple debates.


The dearth of reproductive health questions in the Democratic debates has inspired a Twitter campaign, #AskAboutAbortion. The trend has also confused anti-abortion and abortion rights advocates, as both camps see it as a crucial issue that the candidates should have an opportunity to address.


The candidates have taken different approaches to talking about abortion on the campaign trail. While both have said they would repeal the Hyde Amendment, which restricts federal funding for abortion, only Clinton has done this at rallies, candidate forums and in interviews. Sanders has said he would repeal Hyde in statements and on Twitter, but not as vocally as Clinton.


There are a ton of timely issues related to reproductive justice the networks could ask the candidates about. The Supreme Court is currently considering a case that could further chip away away at abortion access. States with Republican-controlled legislatures have passed a record number of restrictions on the procedure in the last five years. And Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion nationally in 1973, is sure to be a major concern for President Barack Obama, or his successor, in getting a new justice confirmed to the court. With that said, here are 10 questions the moderators could ask Clinton and Sanders in their next debate Wednesday.


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