At the third and final presidential debate, Donald Trump gave meandering and incoherent answers to important questions about the economy and foreign policy. But on the question over abortion, his answer was crystal clear and it should have everyone gravely concerned for what his agenda means for millions of women.
Trump was first asked by moderator Chris Wallace if he would nominate a Supreme Court Justice to overturn Roe v. Wade, which gives women the constitutional right to control her reproductive choices. Trump said he would nominate justices who would overturn the landmark decision and that he would let states decide on the issue, which means many states will outlaw the practice completely.
When Hillary Clinton was asked about her support for late term abortion, which are performed when the life of the mother is in danger or the chances of survivability or quality of life for the baby are low, Trump went unhinged and demonstrated how little he knows about women’s health:
Well, I think it’s terrible. If you go with what Hillary is saying, in the ninth month, you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb of the mother just prior to the birth of the baby.
Now, you can say that that’s OK and Hillary can say that that’s OK. But it’s not OK with me, because based on what she’s saying, and based on where she’s going, and where she’s been, you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb in the ninth month on the final day. And that’s not acceptable.
This is so deeply stupid and flawed it would be career-ending if it hadn’t come from the orange douche who has the most forgiving voter base in history. Abortions do not take place on the due date, they don’t take place in the ninth month. They definitely can take place in the third trimester, something Trump might know something about if he hadn’t abandoned his pregnant wives to go fondle and grope unwilling women.
For women like Cecily Kellogg, his statements have grave implications. Kellogg was pregnant with twin boys hovering at her third trimester, twins who she very much wanted, when she received the horrific news that she was very, very sick and one of the twins had died in the womb. Immediately, she was admitted to the hospital and diagnosed with preeclampsia, her kidneys were failing, her liver function was declining, her blood pressure skyrocketing. If she didn’t terminate her surviving son, she would likely die of a heart attack or stroke.
Due to her condition, the risk of a c-section was too great, as she would likely bleed to death. Forced labor would have stressed her system too much, so the only option left was dilation and extraction. Kellogg says, “It was the worst day of my life.”
But the late term abortion saved her life so she could go on to have better days. These aren’t women who just forgot to have an abortion in the first trimester, they’re women with sad, sad stories.
Babies who are terminated in the third trimester are babies that have no chance of survival outside the womb or will have a very low quality of life, and very often these birth anomalies aren’t discovered until the baby is in advanced development. Once the baby is born it cannot be terminated, so if it is destined for a life of pain and severe disability, Trump is saying, so be it. That is the very definition of cruel.
But aside from the topic of late term abortion, Trump’s promise to overturn Roe v. Wade has other dangerous implications for women. Without the option for abortion, women resort to drastic, often fatal measures to end their pregnancies — whether it’s legal or not. Before Roe v. Wade, between 200,000 and 1.2 million illegal abortions were performed each year in the years leading up to the court’s decision. That’s hundreds of thousands of unregulated, unsafe abortions in terrible conditions women were willing to endure in order to have a say as to when they wanted to bear children. And as a result, around 5,000 women died annually.
Getting rid of a female’s right to bodily autonomy is sadistic, vicious and unjust.
Trump’s contempt for women has turned fatal. It has turned beyond name-calling, bullying, and alleged sexual assault. He stood on that debate stage and announced to the nation that with him as president thousands of women will die under his leadership, and fetuses with severe birth defects would be doomed to lives of misery.
Later in the debate, Trump once again claimed, “Nobody has more respect for women than I do,” to an audience that laughed in return. But Trump doesn’t have enough respect for women to learn about the heartbreaking decision Kellogg had to make or the countless other women who received the heartbreaking news their babies were malformed and would never be.
Clinton, in contrast, promised every woman in the country their rights would remain intact. That includes women who support Trump and loathe abortion, because even they, one day, could face a life or death decision during a pregnancy, and they’ll probably be damned glad Trump wasn’t the one in charge of that decision.
Featured image via Alex Wong/Getty Images