Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders (Reuters/Carlo Allegri)

Will tonight's Democratic debate finally mention abortion?

In five debates, not one single question has been asked. Will tonight's be any different?


Sophia Tesfaye
February 12, 2016 3:44AM (UTC)

There have been five Democratic debates so far, but none have featured any questions on abortion or reproductive health. Will tonight's debate in Milwaukee be any different?

In the Democrat's first post-New Hampshire face-off Thursday night, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders will undoubtedly debate Wall Street reform (again), foreign policy (again) and the state of the campaign (but, of course), but if recent history is any indication they won't discuss TRAP laws, 20-week bans, or contraceptive funding to address the Zika virus -- a measure Congressional Republicans strongly oppose.

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Tonight's PBS debate is the first debate to be co-moderated by two women, Gewn Ifill and Judy Woodruff, perhaps increasing the likelihoodthat  the topic will come up for the first time. Wishful thinking? Just in case, RH Reality Check's Jodi Jacobson has suggested some possible debate questions to pose to two pro-choice candidates:

  • What will you do to address the fact that under Obamacare millions of women have lost insurance coverage for abortion care?
  • Do you see abortion as a fundamental issue of human rights or do you see being “pro-choice” as a campaign strategy only to be ignored once you’ve been elected?

And it's not just the left's that's been missing the mention of abortion during debates. Anti-abortion activists want the Democratic candidates pressed on their support for choice and access, too.

“Not a single question in any of the previous debates has been posed to either Hillary Clinton or Sen. Bernie Sanders on the issue,” Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser said in an email to LifeNews. “Americans – including the nearly one-third of Democrats who consider themselves pro-life – deserve to know what limits, if any, they would put on abortion.”

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For tonight's debate, NARAL Pro-Choice has created a hashtag for viewers to use encourage discussion and break the cone of silence surrounding the Democratic debate: #AskAboutAbortion.

"The voters deserve a chance to watch Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton race to the top on this issue," the organization wrote today.


Sophia Tesfaye

Sophia Tesfaye is Salon's Deputy Politics Editor and resides in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @SophiaTesfaye.

MORE FROM Sophia TesfayeFOLLOW @SophiaTesfaye


Related Topics ------------------------------------------

2016 Democratic Debate 2016 Democratic Primary Abortion War On Women Women Voters

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