Rarely have actually presidential nominees declared, without qualification, the it’s a woman’s appropriate to choose.

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Hillary Clinton stands in ~ the lectern throughout the 3rd and final 2016 presidential campaign debate. (Lucy Nicholson / Reuters)

Even in a presidential project that has come to be so intensely focused on gender, there was something surreal about watching Hillary Clinton’s solution to a question around abortion in Wednesday night’s debate.

Here to be the very first woman nominated through a significant party for the United states presidency, was standing on the dispute stage in “suffragette white,” and also talking in no uncertain terms around her strong commitment to protecting a woman’s best to “make the many intimate, most challenging in many cases, decisions around her health care that one have the right to imagine.”

Democrats room expected to assistance abortion rights, the course, but that assistance is often couched with closely hedged language. This is one understandable impulse, given how divisive the problem of abortion remains.

“I would certainly never have actually an abortion,” claimed Geraldine Ferraro, a Democrat and the very first female evil presidential candidate because that a significant party, in a 1984 debate, “but ns was not fairly sure if ns were ever before to come to be pregnant as result of a rape if I would certainly be the self-righteous.” Ferraro and also others have frequently talked around being pro-choice together a issue of separation between church and also state. (“I will certainly accept the to teach of the church, but I can not impose my religious views on someone else,” she stated in that same debate. “I truly take an oath together a public official to stand for all the people in mine district, not only the Catholics.”)

In 1992, Al Gore defined his ticket’s pro-choice stance v a caveat: “Bill Clinton and I support the appropriate of a woman to choose,” Gore said. “That doesn"t median we"re pro-abortion; in fact, we think there are way too many abortions in this country.”

More recently, chairman Obama has actually echoed the Clinton-Gore technique in his own comments ~ above Roe v. Wade, emphasizing his assistance for a woman’s best to pick while likewise focusing top top the require to minimize “unintended pregnancies” and also minimize “the need for abortion.”

Implicit in countless of these statements is the idea that abortion is no really the ideal choice—but the women have to be permitted to make it anyway.

Last night, top top the nationwide stage, Clinton rejected this implication. She did no hedge her assistance for Roe v. Wade. And she did no promote the idea the abortions should, or also can, be avoided. (To it is in clear, though, she has actually supported late-pregnancy constraints on abortions through exceptions for the wellness of the mother and fetus.)

The blog post was loud and clear: A woman’s best to select is a woman’s appropriate to choose. Period.

“I will defend Roe v. Wade,” she said, “and ns will defend women"s civil liberties to do their own medical care decisions.”

“I’ll confess ns felt a small thrill,” Emily Bazelon, a staff writer in ~ The brand-new York time Magazine wrote in a blog post. “More than at any huge moment due to the fact that the convention, Mrs. Clinton owned her feminism. She sounded choose the very first woman to run for president, defending other women—our autonomy and our control of our own bodies.”

Donald Trump, on the other hand, defined Clinton’s position as “not acceptable” to him: “I think it"s disastrous if friend go v what Hillary is saying,” that said, as soon as asked for his view on late-term abortions. “In the 9th month you have the right to take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb of the mother just prior come the birth of the baby.” (Very few abortions room performed ~ the 20-week mark of a woman’s pregnancy, let alone at the end of a 40-week pregnancy—just 1 percent of all abortions take ar past 21 weeks, follow to The Washington Post. Numerous of the few women who obtain late-term abortions carry out so due to the fact that their fetus can not survive external the womb, or since their own lives room at risk.)

Trump’s graphics language seemed prefer an apparent dog-whistle to the pro-life movement, i beg your pardon favors making use of vivid and often inaccurate descriptions of what wake up to fetuses to do its argument against abortions. Clinton, blasting Trump’s “scare rhetoric,” refocused the conversation on women.

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“You should satisfy with some of the ladies that I"ve met with—women I"ve well-known over the food of my life,” she said. “This is just one of the worst feasible choices that any type of woman and also her household has to make. And I execute not think the federal government should be making it.”

“I’ve been to countries where federal governments either required women to have actually abortions favor they provided to do in China or required women to bear children like they provided to execute in Romania,” she added. “And I have the right to tell friend the government has no organization in the decision that women make v their families in accordance v their faith, with clinical advice and also I will stand increase for the right.”

Clinton’s message, unequivocally, is that ladies aren’t just baby-growers. Women are humans. And that, together Clinton likes come say, women’s rights are human rights. That’s among her go-to present on the campaign trail, and also there’s a reason it has stuck. Never ever in U.S. Background has a presidential nominee to be so convincing around her belief that it’s true.