- Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar drew loud cheers at the first Democratic primary debate Wednesday with her response to Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s claim that he is the “only candidate here who has passed a law” protecting women’s access to contraception.
- “I just want to say there’s three women up here that have fought pretty hard for a woman’s right to choose,” Klobuchar said, as the audience applauded.
- The debate over reproductive rights and access to abortion has taken center stage in recent months as multiple states pass strict abortion laws in an effort to get the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade.
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Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar threw out a zinger at the first Democratic primary debate on Wednesday, when candidates were asked about their plans for healthcare reform and reproductive freedom.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee teed it up by telling viewers, “It should not be an option in the United States of America for any insurance company to deny women coverage for their exercise of their right of choice.”
“And I am the only candidate here who has passed a law protecting a woman’s right of reproductive health and health insurance, and I am the only candidate who has passed a public option,” he added.
But Klobuchar after Inslee’s time was up, Klobuchar jumped in. “I just want to say there’s three women up here that have fought pretty hard for a woman’s right to choose,” she said, prompting loud cheers from the audience.
Klobuchar was referring to herself, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii.
Julian Castro, the former secretary of Housing and Urban Development, also drew applause when he followed up and said his healthcare plan would cover abortion access and “reproductive justice” for all women, including members of the LGBTQ community, regardless of income.
“More than that, everybody in this crowd and watching at home knows that in our country today, a person’s right to choose is under assault in places like Missouri, in Alabama in Georgia,” he said. “I would appoint judges to the federal bench that understand the precedent of Roe v. Wade and will respect it.”
The debate over reproductive rights and women’s access to abortion has exploded in recent months, as multiple Republican-controlled states pass restrictive laws and so-called “heartbeat” bills in an effort to get the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Last month, Alabama’s governor signed the strictest abortion law in recent history, which would ban the procedure and only makes an exception if the health of the mother is at risk.
Missouri, meanwhile, passed a law that bans abortion after eight weeks of pregnancy. It also does not make an exception for cases involving rape and incest. And Georgia’s governor signed a bill that bans abortion as soon as the doctor can detect a fetal heartbeat.
Other hot-button issues that dominated the conversation during Wednesday’s debate included gun control, immigration, and healthcare reform. Twenty Democratic candidates qualified for the debate, which is split over two nights.
Debating on Wednesday, June 26:
- Sen. Elizabeth Warren
- Sen. Cory Booker
- Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke
- Sen. Amy Klobuchar
- Mayor Bill de Blasio
- Former HUD Secretary Julián Castro
- Rep. Tim Ryan
- Rep. Tulsi Gabbard
- Gov. Jay Inslee
- Former Rep. John Delaney
Debating on Thursday, June 27:
- Former Vice President Joe Biden
- Sen. Bernie Sanders
- Sen. Kamala Harris
- Mayor Pete Buttigieg
- Andrew Yang
- Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand
- Former Gov. John Hickenlooper
- Sen. Michael Bennet
- Rep. Eric Swalwell
- Marianne Williamson
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