During the final Presidential Debate on Wednesday night, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were asked a question about the Supreme Court, which eventually led to the two presidential candidates discussing the topic of abortion.
Obviously, both Clinton and Trump took wildly different positions on the issue, both as a whole and as well as how it relates to the Supreme Court. Clinton defended the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that guaranteed a constitutional right to abortion access, and promised to appoint Justices who would uphold the ruling. Trump, on the other hand, promised to put Justices on the Court who would overturn Roe v. Wade and remand the decision on abortion back to the states.
Furthermore, the two candidates diverged when it came to what has been termed as late term abortions. Trump painted a picture of babies being ripped from the womb and killed, however that is not the case. Late-term abortions rarely occur, and when they do, it is because of serious risks to the mother’s health or severe fetal abnormalities. Trump accused Clinton of supporting this practice, after which she clarified the medical reality of the procedure and explained why it can be necessary.
All of this was expected from both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, as they appeal to party bases and activists alike. What was most interesting about the abortion debate is how it framed both 0f the candidates. One was revolutionary; the other, run of the mill.
By decidedly standing up for women’s bodily autonomy, Clinton whole-heartedly embraced the label of first female candidate for President. Hillary Clinton, the potential first female President in the history of the United States, stood up on the debate stage and took down a man who was trying to control and limit the choices that women should be making for themselves. Rather than a vague, superfluous defense of abortion and Planned Parenthood, Clinton gave impassioned reasons as to why both the practice and the institution are necessary to the health and well-being of women across the country.
Donald Trump, on the other hand, employed the same rhetorical fallacies and policies that Republicans and anti-abortion activists have been using for ages. For a candidate so dedicated to railing against the “Republican Establishment”, Trump was the physical embodiment of decades of misogyny and anti-choice policies. He spouted the same lies that Rand Paul and Marco Rubio, who Trump defeated in the primaries, used earlier in the year.
On that debate stage, during the time that abortion was being discussed, the two candidates flipped their narratives: Hillary Clinton was the radical outsider and Donald Trump was the establishment puppet.