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Tonight GOP presidential candidates took the stage for the first official debate of the 2016 election. What did we hear? Candidates who oppose abortion, even in the case of rape and incest, support personhood legislation that could outlaw certain forms of birth control, and support for policies that would cut millions of women off from basic, preventive, reproductive health care.

Senator Rand Paul, on the other hand, was surprisingly silent about women’s health, after losing a vote to “defund” Planned Parenthood earlier this week.

To read the full transcript click here.



Q. Governor Walker, you've consistently said that you want to make abortion illegal, even in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother….

Walker: Well I'm pro-life. I've always been pro-life….Unlike Hillary Clinton who has a radical position in terms of support for Planned Parenthood, I defunded Planned Parenthood more than four years ago long before any of these videos came out.


Q. Senator Rubio, you favor a rape and incest exception to abortion bans….If you believe that life begins at conception as you say you do, how do you justify ending a life just because it begins violently through no fault of the baby?

RUBIO: Well first of allI'm not sure that's a corrected assessment of my record….I have never said that. And I have never advocated that. I have advocated that we pass a law that says all human life at every stage of development is worthy of protection. I think that law exists. It is called the Constitution of the United States. And let me go further. I believe that every single human being is in entitled to the protection of our laws, whether they can vote or not. Whether they can speak or not. Whether they can hire a lawyer or not. Whether they have a birth certificate or not. I think future generations will look back at this history of our country and call us barbarians for murdering millions of babies who we never gave a chance to live.


Bush: ...Here's my record. As Governor of the state of Florida, I defunded Planned Parenthood. I created a culture of life in our state. We were the only state to appropriate money for crisis pregnancy centers. We expanded dramatically the number adoptions out of our foster care system. We did parental notification laws. We ended partial-birth abortion. We did all of this and we were the first state to do a choose life license plate. Now 29 states have done it and tens of millions of dollars have gone to create a culture where more babies are adopted….I am completely pro-life and I believe we should have a culture of life that is informed by my faith from beginning to end. I did this not just as it related to unborn babies. I did it at the end of life issues as well. This is something that goes way beyond politics. I hope one day we get to the point where we respect life in its fullest form across the board.


Q. Governor Huckabee...you favor a constitutional amendment favoring abortions except for the life of the mother….?

Huckabee: ...I’ve actually taken the position that's bolder than that. A lot of people are talking about defunding Planned Parenthood as if that's a huge game changer. I think it's time to do something even more bold. I think the next president ought to invoke the 5th and 14th amendments to the constitution. Now that we clearly know that that baby inside the mother's womb is a person at the moment of conception. The reason we know that it is because of the dna schedule that we now have clear scientific evidence on. And this notion that we just continue to ignore the personhood of the individual is a violation of that unborn child's fifth and 14th amendment rights for due process and equal protection under the law. It's time that we recognize the supreme court is not the supreme being and we change the policy to be pro-life and protect children instead of rip up their body parts and sell them like they're parts to a buick.


Trump: I am pro-life….I said if you let it run, that I hate the concept of abortion. I hate the concept of abortion. And then since then, I've evolved. And what happened was friends of mine years ago were going to have a child and it was going to be aborted. And wasn't aborted. And that child today is a total super star. A great, great child. And I saw that. And I saw other instances. And I am very, very proud to say that I am pro-life. As far as being a Republican is concerned, I come from a place, New York City, which is virtually, I mean, it is almost exclusively Democrat. And I have really started to see, some of the negatives as an example, and I have a lot of liking for this man, but the last number of months of his brother's administration were a catastrophe. And unfortunately, those few months gave us President Obama. And you can't be happy about that.


CRUZ: ...I have been proud to fight and stand for religious liberty, to stand against Planned Parenthood, to defend life for my entire career and I will be proud to continue to do so as President of the United States.


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