Pro-choice groups penned a letter to NBC’s Lester Holt, who will moderate the first presidential debate featuring the major party nominees on Monday, imploring him to ask the candidates about abortion.
Leaders from NARAL Pro-Choice America, UltraViolet, All* Above All Action Fund, Feminist Majority, National Organization for Women, and CREDO issued the letter asking Holt “to press the candidates on their plans to address the crisis in abortion access in our country.”
“While many topics deserve the candidates’ consideration—from job creation to immigration to national security—safe and reliable access to abortion is fundamental to all Americans’ ability to determine our own destinies,” the letter said.
“Few issues are at once more personal and more consequential to Americans as when, whether, and with whom they choose to start or grow a family,” the letter continued. “This issue is too important to leave unaddressed on Monday. We hope you’ll allow the candidates to talk about their differing plans to defend and expand our constitutionally protected right to access abortion.”
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The organizations provided three avenues for questioning Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, which included how each candidate would ensure pregnant people could access their constitutional right to abortion care regardless of their financial situation; whether candidates would allow those seeking abortion care while infected with the Zika virus to access care; and how each candidate would work to “reverse maternal mortality” in the United States.
Debate moderators in the Democratic primaries came under scrutiny from reproductive rights advocates for failing to explicitly ask the candidates about abortion.
Clinton during a Democratic debate in April pointed out the lack of abortion discussion, telling the crowd that in the debates, “We’ve not had one question about a woman’s right to make her own decisions about reproductive health care, not one question.”
Fact-checking site Politifact rated her claim “true,” adding that it “could not find any example of a moderator asking a direct question about abortion, however Clinton and Sanders both raised the topic in multiple debates.”