Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s recent comments about punishing women for getting abortions have had an unexpected side-effect: instigating a spat between the two Democratic candidates over their commitments to abortion.
On Wednesday, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders dismissed the controversy by saying, “”Any stupid, absurd remark made by Donald Trump becomes the story of the week. Maybe, just maybe, we might want to have a serious discussion about the serious issues facing America.”
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton responded by suggesting he meant abortion itself was a “distraction.” “We need a president who is passionate about this,” she continued, “seeing it as a top priority because women’s health is under assault.”
A number of Clinton’s pro-abortion supporters concurred. NARAL President Ilyse Hogue said, “We need a president who will be a champion in protecting women’s access to health care, not one who will dismiss the importance of this issue,” while EMILY’s List President Stephanie Schriock accused Sanders of “show[ing] he just doesn’t understand the challenges women face in this country.”
On Friday, Sanders responded by reiterating, “I am 100 percent pro-choice and will defend women’s right to choose […] Do I believe its a serious issue? I’ve been spending my entire political life fighting for the right of a woman to control her own body.”
“What Secretary Clinton did is take things out of context,” Sanders lamented.