WATCH: Bernie Sanders Says ‘I Don’t Know’ When Asked About a Major Abortion Rights Issue
Independent Vermont Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders may have run afoul of pro-choice voters when he was asked how he would deal with a major reproductive rights issue as president, and replied “I don’t know.”
On Sunday morning’s edition of Meet the Press, host Chuck Todd asked Sanders about the fierce debate over abortion that has erupted in the wake of restrictive state laws that have been passed in recent weeks.
“Will you have a litmus test for judges on Roe?” Todd asked, adding “It’s pretty clear in 2020, no matter which side of the abortion you are on, it is going to be on the ballot, the issue of Supreme Court justices. Do you believe in that Roe litmus test?”
“Look, I believe what they did in Alabama was unbelievable, other states are doing it, the idea that women in this country should not be able to control their own bodies is beyond belief,” Sanders said. “They have that constitutional right. So if you’re asking me would I ever appoint a Supreme Court Justice who does not believe in defending Roe versus Wade, who does not believe that a woman has a right to control her own body, I will never do that.”
“Is there any restriction, what are the restrictions, do you believe there should be any restrictions on abortion in law?” Todd asked.
“I think that that is a decision that is being, that should be made by the woman and her physician, and I think what people are doing, it’s sadly is creating a political issue out of a medical issue,” Sanders said, maintaining adherence to the general principle of abortion rights. “So the decision about women should be able to control their own body, and those decisions are made by a doctor and the woman.”
“Are you in all concerned, though, about this idea that people may try to worry about the sex of a child, or essentially, are those types of restrictions on abortions something you’re open to?” Todd asked.
“That, I mean, that’s a concern,” Sanders said as Todd was asking, then answered, haltingly, “Well, that’s not a, I wouldn’t use a restriction on, that’s an issue that society has got to deal with, and it is of concern.”
“How would you deal with that in the law?” Todd asked.
“I don’t know how, at this particular point, I would deal with it, but that is an issue that we really have got to deal with,” Sanders replied.
Sanders seemed unprepared for the question, and perhaps unaware that reproductive rights organizations like NARAL Pro-Choice America and Planned Parenthood uniformly oppose laws restricting abortions on the basis Todd cites for a number of reasons.
“Sex-selective abortion bans are deceptive laws that exploit racial stereotypes and result in doctors questioning their patients’ motives and restricting entire communities from accessing care,” said Planned Parenthood of New York City in opposing one such law.
Watch the clip above, via NBC.
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