By Bryce Liao, Courier Managing Editor
When Chris Wallace, moderator of the final presidential debate, asked the two presidential candidates about their positions on abortion, things got ugly.
Questioned about Roe v. Wade, a landmark Supreme Court decision that allowed pregnant women to abort if their lives were at stake, Clinton responded:
“Roe v. Wade […] guarantees a constitutional right to a woman to make the most intimate […] decisions about her health care that one can imagine. […] 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.”
Her reasoning, as well as that of her running mate, follows the traditional liberal, pro-life, stance on abortion- that women have the right to abort should continuing the pregnancy jeopardize their health.
Conversely, Trump and his running mate have long advocated for pro-life. In the final debate, Trump responded to Wallace’s question about the possibility of overturning Roe v. Wade:
“If you go with what Hillary is saying, in the ninth month you can take baby and rip the baby out of the womb of the mother just prior to the birth of the baby […] And that’s not acceptable. […] I will be appointing pro-life life […] justices on the court. I will say this. It will go back to the states and the states will then make a determination.”
For Trump and Pence, promoters of pro-life, the baby’s life should take priority over the health of a pregnant women. Unlike Clinton and Kaine, they argue that a fetus can definitely be considered a person, and therefore the Constitution applies to it.
To put the debate into perspective, both Trump and Clinton have long histories supporting their sides of the abortion issue. In his book written in 2000, The America We Deserve, Trump discussed abortion methods with various doctors, and stated that he would support the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act. Since 2003, Clinton has voted against this same act, reasoning that an unborn baby holds no constitutional rights.
The vice presidential candidates also have a long history regarding abortion. During Mike Pence’s twelve years in the House of Representatives, he consistently voted for pro-life decisions, including the passage of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act. In Tim Kaine’s years in the Senate, he established himself as one of the staunchest advocates of pro-choice, even voting against the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.
While pro-life vs. pro-choice is only one of the many factors coming into play when Americans decide their President on November 8th, it has certainly been one of the most controversial.
Should a baby’s life take priority over its mother’s health, or should it be the other way around?
Is a fetus considered a person?
How should we deal with programs like Planned Parenthood?
The decision is up to you.