People hoping to hear Democratic presidential candidates positions on abortion during last nights debate were left sorely disappointed.
Not a single minute was dedicated to the topic.
This comes at a time when reproductive freedom is under assault nationwide. States have recently passed some of the most restrictive abortion laws sinceRoe v. Wadeguaranteed women the right to choose.
Americans are taking notice. In June, a nationwide poll by Monmouth University found that one-in-three Americans, and more Democrats than Republicans, rank abortion as a top issue in the 2020 elections.
Accordingly, many expected the Democratic candidates to face serious questions about reproductive freedom during last nights presidential debate. Questions about abortion have inspired some of the most powerful moments in earlier debates.
ABC, which aired the debate, cant take the position that it wasnt on notice. A day prior, the networksolicited suggestionsfor questions to ask the candidates. Planned Parenthood Action was among those who suggested abortion rights,tweeting, Ask the candidates what they plan to do to reverse Trumps attacks on our sexual and reproductive health care.
The debate covered other important issues of the day, such as immigration, healthcare, and the trade war. But viewers interested in reproductive freedom were left hanging.
Not long after the debate concluded, presidential candidates Beto ORourke and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.)tweeted their disappointment that the three-hour event didnt include any questions about abortion or reproductive rights. Some lamented that Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), who has made reproductive freedom a pillar of her candidacy, didnt qualify for the debate.
Reproductive rights are under greater threat than they've been since before Roe v. Wade.
We've had a three-hour, 10-candidate #DemDebate for the presidency and not a single question *or mention* about that crisis.
But ok. We don't need a candidate who runs on women's rights.
— Emmy Bengtson (@EmmyA2) September 13, 2019
Not a single word about abortion. #DemDebate
— Liz Plank (@feministabulous) September 13, 2019
Media Matters drew attention to the noticeable absence of discussion about abortion rights in a piece that listed nine things that were discussed more than reproductive freedom. The list included veganism, record players, penguins, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeaus hair.
Glorious as Trudeaus coif may be, advocates for choice were deeply disappointed. #AskAboutAbortiontrended on Twitter this morning. (#AskAboutAbortion wasinspired by there being no questions about abortion in the first five Democratic presidential debates in 2016.)
Change the conversation. Refuse the stigma. Use your platform to voice compassion for those of us whove had abortions.
— Renee Bracey Sherman (@RBraceySherman) September 13, 2019
Abortion wasnt the only issue of particular importance to women that was left off the table at the debate. There was no mention of elder care, family leave, sexual assault, or the gender pay gap.
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