News Politics

Fox News Town Hall Host Asks Clinton, Sanders if Fetuses Should Have ‘Legal Rights’

Ally Boguhn

Brett Baier's question about abortion came one day after CNN’s Democratic debate became the party’s seventh debate that failed to ask the candidates about their stances on abortion rights.

Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) on Monday discussed their stances on abortion regulations during a town hall event hosted by Fox News.

Host Bret Baier, during a special edition of Fox News’ Special Report, spoke with Sanders and Clinton in Detroit ahead of Michigan’s primary vote. Baier asked Clinton: “Do you think a child should have any legal rights or protections before it’s born?”

“Right now the Supreme Court is considering a decision that would shut down a lot of the options for women in Texas, and there have been other legislatures that have taken similar steps to try to restrict a woman’s right to obtain an abortion,” Clinton said.

“Under Roe v. Wade, which is rooted in the Constitution, women have this right to make this highly personal decision with their family in accordance with their faith, with their doctor. It’s not much of a right if it is totally limited and constrained,” she said. “So I think we have to continue to stand up for a woman’s right to make these decisions, and to defend Planned Parenthood, which does an enormous amount of good work across our country.” 

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Clinton, when asked by Baier if there were any exceptions to her position, noted that she has been “on record in favor of a late pregnancy regulation that would have exceptions for the life and health of the mother.” Clinton noted that she opposes Congressional Republicans’ efforts to pass a 20-week abortion ban without exceptions such as the “complex, difficult medical situation[s]” that don’t occur until that point in a pregnancy.

Clinton has voiced support for some restrictions on abortion care, including so-called partial birth abortion bans, as long as they include exceptions.

Clinton responded to Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-FL) false assertion during a February debate that Clinton thought “all abortion should be legal, even on the due date of that unborn child,” saying “reasonable kinds of restrictions can be imposed [on abortion] as long as the life and health of the mother are taken into account and that’s what the law is today.”

Speaking with Sanders, Baier asked if the senator could “name a single circumstance at any point in a pregnancy at which point you would be OK with abortion being illegal.”

“It’s not a question of me being OK,” said Sanders, who pledged last year to fight the anti-choice “counter-revolution” unfolding in Republican-held state legislatures. “I know not everybody here will agree with me. I happen to believe that it is wrong for the government to be telling a woman what to do with her own body.”

Baier circled back, pushing Sanders to answer whether he was “saying no” to limits on abortion access “after five months” with exceptions such as life endangerment. “I am very strongly pro-choice,” Sanders said. “That is a decision to be made by the woman, her physician, and her family. That’s my view.”

Baier’s question about abortion came one day after CNN’s Democratic debate in Flint became the party’s seventh debate that failed to ask the candidates about their stances on the issue. January’s Iowa Brown and Black Presidential Forum hosted by news outlet Fusion, however, challenged the Democratic candidates to address abortion rights and reproductive health.

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