Well everyone, the moment we've all been waiting for has finally arrived. As the 2020 Democratic candidates take the stage for the first round of debates, it's safe to say that this night is a make-or-break time for some. And while the first night of debates covered a lot of ground, it was Sen. Amy Klobuchar's comment about abortion rights at the Democratic debate that was worth a standing ovation.
On Wednesday, June 26, the first round of the 2020 Democratic debates kicked off at 9 p.m. ET, featuring the likes of Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, former U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke of Texas, Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, and a handful of others. Even though candidates have been traveling from state to state hosting rallies and speaking events, this debate was definitely the most important event so far. So, naturally, the candidates didn't hold back. However, there was one particular moment that stood out, and it was courtesy of Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota.
While speaking on the issue of health care, Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington made a bold claim that he was the only candidate standing on the stage that had fought for health care to cover reproductive rights. Immediately after Inslee's comments, Klobuchar interjected and pointed out that it was pretty bold of Inslee to make that claim. In fact, she said, there were three other female candidates — namely Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, as well as herself — who have fought for the same cause. "I just want to say there’s three women up here that have fought pretty hard for a woman’s right to choose," Klobuchar said.
While male-bodied people are important allies on the subject of reproductive rights, it's important to remember that it's people with uteruses who bear the brunt of restrictions to reproductive care — and clearly, Klobuchar wasn't down with Inslee overlooking the contributions of the women on the stage.
Throughout her political career, Klobuchar has sponsored legislation that fights for reproductive rights for citizens. In November 2013, Klobuchar co-sponsored the Women's Health Protection Act, which banned limitations pertaining to abortion services and prohibited imposition by the government, guaranteeing safe and legal abortion services to individuals. In March 2017, Klobuchar fought to keep federal funding for family planning services that conduct abortion procedures. Warren, for her part, has supported policies like guaranteed insurance coverage for abortion and the repeal of the Hyde Amendment, while Gabbard has voted in support of abortion rights and against abortion restrictions.
Which isn't to say Inslee has done nothing. The Washington governor has also been an outspoken supporter of reproductive rights and access to abortion. In November 2003, Inslee voted against the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, which would have prohibited physicians from performing certain abortion procedures. In May 2016, he co-sponsored the Unintended Pregnancy Reduction Act, which provides contraceptive services to minors and others in need of family planning services. In May 2011, he also voted against HR3, also known as the No Taxpayers For Abortion Act, which would prohibit federally-funded abortions.
So clearly, all of these candidates have quite the resume when it comes to reproductive rights.
While the first round of debates certainly didn't disappoint, the second night on June 27 is sure to be full of heated conversation, and possibly even some drama. During the second debates, Democratic frontrunners Biden and Sanders will take the stage alongside South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Kamala Harris of California, and more, in an effort to win America's first impressions.
For many of us, it felt like the first round of presidential debates would never happen. It's time to sit back, grab some popcorn, and get a taste of what we can expect in 2020. Judging by Klobuchar's statement, this is going to be quite a race.