Paul Ryan Drives a Mack Truck Over Women's Health
The third and final presidential debate between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump provide a teachable moment on the subject of abortion.
Make that many teachable moments. When moderator Chris Wallace asked the candidates their views on so-called "partial birth" abortion bans, Trump declared it's "not acceptable" that women "can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb in the ninth month on the final day." But that simply does not happen. Over 90 percent of abortions in the U.S. occur within the first 13 weeks of pregnancy; only about 1 percent are performed after 21 weeks. The extremely rare intact dilation and extraction procedure rebranded by ant-abortion activists as "partial birth" was used only in urgent circumstances to preserve the life and health of the mother or in the face of catastrophic and fatal fetal deformities. After Trump's bogus horror stories, many American women came forward to tell their own stories of crisis, tragedy and heartbreak.
But if many voters recoiled at Donald Trump's fictional description of butchery, they would be mistaken if they believe the GOP nominee's views made him an anomaly in his party. By now, the rejection of the "health of the mother" exception isn't just a standard feature of Republican anti-abortion crusade at the state and federal level. As it turns out, House Speaker Paul Ryan called it "a loophole wide enough to drive a Mack truck through."
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