Democratic candidates’ take on women’s reproductive rights



Kamala Harris makes the fourth democratic debate a memorable night by being the first candidate to bring up the issue of women’s access to reproductive health care, “which is under full-on attack in America today.”

Imagine living in a nation that controlled people’s bodies and treated them as if they had no rights. Oh wait! That might actually become a reality if we elect a president who’s ignorant when it comes to basic human rights. 

Thankfully, we have a variety of candidates to choose from who will support and fight for the right to make decisions about your own body.

The fourth democratic debate on Oct. 15 was one of the best debates so far. We got to see 11 familiar ones, along with a new one, who were ready to attack on certain topics. For some candidates, this was a make it or break it situation that would determine the rest of their presidential career. 

As the debates continued, the topic of women’s rights became less mentioned and none of the moderates brought it up during the third one, until now.

In one of the most memorable moments of the night, the candidates took part in answering questions over the topic of women and their reproductive rights. It’s heartbreaking to see that we’ve come so far in 2019, yet we’re still debating whether or not women should have reproductive rights, when this issue should be a no brainer.

“People need to keep their hands off of women’s bodies and let women make the decisions about their own lives,” said Senator Kamala Harris. Although Harris is my least favorite candidate, I applaud her for bringing matters to the issue since it was clear that it wouldn’t be a big topic that night.

Harris even pointed out how outrageous it is that there have been states that are attacking women by having passed laws by Republican legislatures that prevent women from having access to reproductive health care, and emphasized the possible consequence this may have on women of color — death.

Harris’ statements sparked fellow candidate Cory Booker to speak on this issue. “Women should not be the only ones taking up this cause,” Booker said. “Women are people and people deserve to control their own body.” 

Several candidates have also brought light on this issue in past debates. “I don’t believe in just reproductive freedom, I believe in reproductive justice,” Julián Castro said. He was also the first candidate to address issues of the trans community during a debate. “Just because a woman, or let’s also not forget someone in the trans community, a trans female is poor, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have the right to exercise that right to choose.” (It should be noted that he later corrected himself and specified trans male instead of trans female.)

It’s sad to see that whether women should have reproductive rights are a very opinionated topic since it should be considered a human right. Why should a human right be negotiated in the first place? These are real people we’re talking about, not some “opinion” that you can disagree on. Only you know what’s right for your body, so why are we going to let some cis men choose what’s right and what isn’t for your body? 

Our nation didn’t always do a poor job of separating the state with the church. Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling in 1973, struck down many laws that were against abortion. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution protected a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion without immoderate government restriction, therefore making abortion legal nationwide. In the case of Griswold v. Connecticut in 1965, the court invalidated a state law that prohibited women utilizing any drugs to prevent conception since it was considered unconstitutional as it violated the right to marital privacy. 

The United States had been on a trajectory of respecting women’s reproductive health for the past couple of decades; however, that has changed ever since Trump got elected. It isn’t surprising that he wants to take away women’s rights, though, since he and his administration have been transparent about their view on reproductive rights, especially after trying to take away the access of a particular basic health care  — birth control. Before and throughout his election, Trump has even vowed to appoint justices to reverse Roe v. Wade.

Those who are pregnant should not have to see a day where they have to engage in safe practices in order to stay alive, which is why it’s crucial to elect a candidate who’s well informed about such issues. We should never have to see the day where Roe v. Wade is overturned.

Hopefully, in 2020, a president who respects the right to make decisions about one’s own body will be sitting in an office.