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Discussion of Abortion Indefensibly Ignored in First Democratic Presidential Primary Debate of 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, January 14, 2020
CONTACT: Planned Parenthood Votes Media Office; 212-261-4433; [email protected]
Planned Parenthood Votes Pressroom

Des Moines, IA Mere weeks before the Iowa caucuses and during the first Democratic debate of 2020, discussion of abortion access and how the candidates would roll back the Trump administration’s attacks on reproductive rights was indefensibly ignored.

The exclusion is all the more disappointing given that access to reproductive health care is top of mind for Iowans. A CNN poll of likely Iowa Democratic caucus participants showed that support for abortion rights is the issue essential to the largest group of voters — 8 in 10 voters called it a “must have,” including 85% of women.

Statement from Jenny Lawson, Executive Director, Planned Parenthood Votes:

“Iowans know better than anyone what it looks like for politicians to push their extreme agenda on people and their doctors. Their elected officials have failed them — from their state lawmakers passing abortion bans as early as six weeks in pregnancy, to their United States senators urging the Supreme Court to consider overturning Roe, to their governor endorsing an anti-abortion amendment to the Iowa Constitution. At this critical juncture, the stakes for reproductive rights could not be higher. That’s why it’s indefensible that over the course of a two hour debate, there wasn’t a single opportunity for Americans to hear how the presidential candidates will correct course and protect abortion access. We — and voters all across the country — demand better."

In November, elections in Virginia and Kentucky proved that voters are tired of the fear-mongering and misleading rhetoric from Republicans about abortion care, and are excited to cast their ballots for champions of reproductive freedom.

Planned Parenthood advocacy and political organizations will make a historic investment of at least $45 million in key battleground states during the 2020 cycle. In October, Planned Parenthood Votes released a new “Candidate Spotlight” tool that details the presidential candidates’ stances on birth control, abortion access, reproductive health care, and more.

Background: Reproductive health is a top issue for voters in the 2020 election — and a winning issue for candidates.


Planned Parenthood Votes is an independent expenditure political committee registered with the Federal Election Commission.