Once Again, Women's Health Was Not Discussed At The Democratic Debate

by Alexandra Svokos

The last Democratic Debate before the first primary vote in the nation concluded on Sunday night without a single question on women's healthcare. Again we are left without a discussion on the Democratic national stage about women's healthcare rights.

Women's healthcare rights are under attack in 2016. Republicans have continued their attempts to delegitimize and defund Planned Parenthood.

The violent rhetoric from politicians on Planned Parenthood and abortion has arguably increased attacks on clinics, including the November shooting at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs that left three people dead.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court is hearing an historic case that could shut down access to abortion to millions of women.

Despite these serious attacks on women's healthcare, we have yet to hear it discussed at a Democratic debate.

At the end of Sunday's debate, the candidates were asked to discuss a topic they didn't get a chance to review during the rest of the debate.

O'Malley addressed a wide list that did not include abortion access or women's healthcare. Bernie Sanders brought up campaign finance -- which he had discussed quite thoroughly during the rest of the debate.

Even Hillary Clinton, who has made women's healthcare a major part of her platform, did not bring it up (although she did use her time to address the previously un-discussed water crisis in Flint, Michigan).

There is a lot the candidates need to publicly discuss on women's healthcare. Although it's clear the candidates are pro-choice and agree Planned Parenthood needs funding, there are more specific pieces to go over -- just like how the candidates took quite some time discussing more general healthcare policies.

Planned Parenthood endorsed Clinton, in the first time the organization has ever endorsed a presidential primary candidate.

Sanders and O'Malley could have been asked what they are doing to support important institutions like Planned Parenthood.

Clinton also announced that she would work to repeal the Hyde Amendment, which bans federal funding for abortion except in the cases of incest, rape and danger to the mother's life.

The Hyde Amendment means that low-income women without private health insurance have more restricted access to abortion services, as they have to find other ways to pay.

Sanders and O'Malley could have been asked about their stance on the amendment.

All three candidates also could have been asked on their plans -- if they have any -- on protecting abortion clinics from violent attacks and domestic terrorism. Clinics have been under attack for decades and providers make regular pushes for federal help.

Overall, it's saddening that women's healthcare has been so continually ignored on debate stages. It indicates that women's health is not a priority on the political stage.

These are issues that affect half the nation -- our rights to safety, health and choices for our own bodies and futures. Women's healthcare must be discussed in debates for us to be able to make a more informed decision on who will best take care of us in ways that really matter.