President-elect Donald Trump said he’d take away abortion rights from women across the nation during the 2016 presidential campaign trail, promising to nominate Supreme Court justices during his tenure in the White House who would reverse the court’s ruling on Roe V. Wade. Trump has gone so far as to say "there has to be some form of punishment" for women seeking abortions.
Abortion rights played a major role on the national stage throughout the 2016 election, with both candidates sparring off on the issue at the final presidential debate on Oct. 19, 2016. Trump and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton yielded impassioned responses about their polarizing viewpoints after moderator Chris Wallace asked Trump whether he would in fact reverse the Supreme Court’s ruling on legal abortion access in the United States.
"That'll happen automatically, in my opinion, because I am putting pro-life justices on the court," Trump said. "I will say this: It will go back to the states, and the states will then make a determination."
Clinton then defended her 2003 vote against the federal Partial Birth Abortion Ban, telling Wallace the legislation detracted from rights protected by Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court’s 1973 ruling protecting abortion rights.
"Roe v. Wade very clearly sets out that there can be regulations on abortion so long as the life and the health of the mother are taken into account," Clinton said. "And when I voted as a senator, I did not think that that was the case."
Clinton slammed Republicans for voting to defund Planned Parenthood across the United States, as well as making the healthcare access organization one of the most contentious talking points in the primary stages of the 2016 presidential race.
"Politicians have no business interfering with women's personal health decisions. I will oppose efforts to roll back women's access to reproductive health care, including Republican efforts to defund Planned Parenthood," Clinton said in January. "As president, I'll stand up for Planned Parenthood and women's access to critical health services, including safe, legal abortion."
During the final presidential debate, Trump recounted various graphic stories of women ending pregnancies through legal abortions in the end stages, a disturbing image found to be fundamentally incorrect by abortion providers and experts alike. Clinton ignored the remarks, continuing the assertion abortion access and health care rights should remain open to all women seeking assistance from Planned Parenthood and the like.
"It isn't only about Roe v. Wade," Clinton continued. "It's about very stringent regulations on women that block them from exercising that choice, to the extent that they are defunding Planned Parenthood. Donald has said he's in favor of supporting shutting down Planned Parenthood."