Critics Call Out Democratic Debate Moderators For Ignoring Abortion

Critics are calling out moderators of the Democratic presidential primary debates for not asking any questions about abortion, despite the Supreme Court's current consideration of “the highest-stakes abortion case in a generation” and the many recently passed state bills curtailing abortion access.

The March 6 CNN Democratic presidential debate was the latest to omit any questions about abortion, despite the multitude of pressing reproductive rights issues that moderators could have asked candidates about. The Supreme Court heard oral arguments on March 2 for Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt, dubbed the “highest-stakes abortion case in a generation,” which has the potential to effectively close “more than 75% of Texas abortion facilities and deter new ones from opening.” On March 3, the Supreme Court temporarily blocked a Louisiana law that “would leave the state with only one abortion clinic.” The Guttmacher Institute reported in 2015 that in the prior five years, states “enacted nearly as many new abortion restrictions” as they had “in the previous 15 years.”

Many abortion rights advocates, including NARAL Pro-Choice America and RH Reality Check, implored outlets to ask the Democratic candidates about abortion leading up to the debates. Even anti-choice groups, including the group Susan B. Anthony List, encouraged moderators to ask Democratic candidates about abortion. The outreach spurred a social media campaign, with thousands of tweets highlighting the lack of abortion questions throughout the debates and urging moderators to #AskAboutAbortion:

Critics have been vocal about moderators' failure to ask any questions about abortion in previous Democratic debates: