October 1, 2020

How the Presidential Debate Addressed Abortion

Screenshot: C-SPAN
In the Presidential debate hosted by Chris Wallace on Sept. 29, nominees Donald Trump and Joe Biden battled on many issues. Surprisingly, perhaps even to the candidates, abortion was not discussed as much as many expected.

The topic of abortion nearly became a central part of the debate when the candidates discussed the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. Biden suggested that her confirmation could lead to "women's rights" being "fundamentally changed." This likely was a reference to Roe v. Wade. He further elaborated that Roe v. Wade was "on the ballot" due to the president's ability to nominate Supreme Court justices.

Trump responded to Biden by saying Biden did not know Barrett's position on Roe v. Wade.

Chris Wallace interrupted this discussion and told the candidates that they would come back to the idea of Roe v. Wade later in the debate, but this never actually happened. Cross-talk between the candidates during the debate may have eliminated time he had originally set aside to discuss the topic of abortion.

Another relevant question posed at Biden was whether he would "pack the court" if he was elected as president after Barrett's confirmation. By adding additional justices to the Supreme Court past the nine our country has had in recent history, he could eliminate the conservative justices' potential to overturn things like Roe v. Wade or The Affordable Care Act. Unfortunately, Biden refused to answer this question. "Whatever position I take on that, that’ll become the issue," he said.

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