Larry Decker, the executive director of the Secular Coalition for America, released a statement following Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s comments about abortion and women’s right to choose during the final presidential debate Wednesday night. Decker called the comments “blatantly unconstitutional and deeply disrespectful,” in response to Trump’s remarks that he would appoint Supreme Court Justices who would “automatically” overturn Roe v. Wade.
“Following the release of a tape in which he casually discusses sexual assault, presidential candidate Donald Trump has repeatedly claimed that; ‘No one has more respect for women than I do.’ Trump invoked this talking point yet again at last night’s presidential debate shortly after promising to appoint Supreme Court Justices who would overturn Roe. v. Wade. Donald Trump cannot claim women do not have the right to control their own bodies and, barely thirty minutes later, boast about how much he respects women. The core of Trump’s radical anti-choice position is the belief women’s voices can be disregarded and their medical decisions made by lawmakers. In defending this stance, Trump employed discredited myths about abortion care similar to those used by the religious right leaders who have advised his campaign,” Decker said in the statement.
The myths Trump used included one that his rival, Hillary Clinton, supported late-term abortions, claiming this meant a woman could terminate a pregnancy just a day before the baby was due. He described the so-called late-term abortion in detail. Clinton fought back, showing that the bill she blocked would have put women’s lives in danger and argued that late-term abortions are not used by women days before their birth.
Decker continued, giving praise to Clinton’s defense of women’s rights.
“If Donald Trump is at all curious what a platform respecting women would look like, it was displayed at the podium across from his by Hillary Clinton. When asked what sorts of justices she would look to appoint to the Supreme Court, Secretary Clinton did not hesitate to stress that any appointment she makes to the court will be committed to upholding Roe v. Wade. We applaud Clinton’s unequivocal and bold defense of a woman’s right to choose. Lawmakers have no right to impose their personal religious beliefs onto anyone, including women seeking access to abortion care. To do so is blatantly unconstitutional and deeply disrespectful.”
Trump not only attacked women’s rights, he also spent a good portion of the debate attacking women who are sexual assault victims. He claimed the women who are accusing him of sexual assault are either looking for fame or are paid by the Clinton campaign to make him look bad. He followed this same line of reasoning to claim that the Clinton campaign was planting paid dissenters at his rallies to start fights and riots.
Trump’s verbal attack on women whom he knew personally, yet claimed to have never met, only feeds into the national crisis of women not feeling safe or comfortable coming forward with claims of sexual assault. He demonizes these women in an attempt to discredit them and ruin their lives. All of this while allegedly already doing this by sexually assaulting them.
We must believe victims of sexual assault and we must hear their stories. Treating them as liars, attacking their personal lives, only feeds into creating more fear and only serves to protect sexual abusers.