Abortion has been a contentious topic in this year's campaign. Clinton has been a long-time staunch supporter of abortion. Trump has previously praised Planned Parenthood doing "very good work" for women and defended partial-birth abortion. During this campaign, however, he said he has had a change of heart and is now pro-life. He says he would support defunding Planned Parenthood of federal tax dollars.
Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List and leader of the Trump campaign's pro-life coalition, said that "Clinton's position on abortion is wildly out of step with the majority of Americans who support a compassionate limit on abortion after five months and who do not want their tax dollars used to pay for abortion on-demand."
In her defense of legal abortion, Clinton also referenced her international travels as Secretary of State insist that government should not involve itself in a woman's decision about her pregnancy.
She said that "I've been to countries where governments either forced women to have abortions, like they used to do in China, or forced women to bear children like they used to do in Romania."
However, one human rights advocate – Reggie Littlejohn, president of Women's Rights Without Frontiers – strongly contested Clinton's claim that China "used to" mandate forced abortions, saying that their forced family planning policy still exists and that Clinton's claim was "untrue and deeply disappointing."
For decades, the Chinese Communist government had a mandatory one-child-per-family policy. Women found to be pregnant without a permit would be turned into to local authorities by their neighbors and would be forced to have abortions and be sterilized. As many families chose to have only a male child, a serious gender imbalance has resulted in China.
The Chinese government announced last year that it would allow families to have two children.
However, the forced abortions and pregnancy screenings continue, Littlejohn insisted. "Women of child-bearing age" undergo four pregnancy screenings per year, and married women cannot have more than two children, while single women cannot have any children, she said.
Although women who are illegally pregnant may be able to pay a fine instead of having an abortion, women who "cannot pay the fine – which can be as much as ten times her annual salary" must have an abortion. "Forced abortion, therefore, continues under the Two-Child Policy," Littlejohn insisted.
"The Chinese Communist Party has not agreed to get out of the bedrooms of the Chinese people, and Presidential candidates should not be stating or implying that they have," she said. "We need to keep the international pressure on the Chinese Communist Party until all coercive population control is eradicated."
The debate also covered other topics, including immigration, the second amendment and ISIS.
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At one point, Trump was asked by Wallace if, in the scenario he lost the election, he would concede it, given the country's tradition of a "peaceful transition of power."
Trump did not say he would concede if he lost. "I will tell you at the time. I'll keep you in suspense," he said.
Matt Hadro was the political editor at Catholic News Agency through October 2021. He previously worked as CNA senior D.C. correspondent and as a press secretary for U.S. Congressman Chris Smith.