Editor's note: See the full transcript of Trump and Clinton's debate on abortion and the Supreme Court at the bottom.
LAS VEGAS, Nevada, October 19, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton outlined starkly different visions for the Supreme Court in the third and final presidential debate, with the former re-affirming his commitment to appointing “pro-life” justices who will overturn Roe v. Wade and the latter reemphasizing her commitment to appoints justices who will support abortion and same-sex “marriage.”
“We need a Supreme Court that will stand up on behalf of women's rights” and “on behalf of the rights of the LGBT community,” Clinton said. “I have major disagreements with my opponent about these issues and others that will be before the Supreme Court, but I feel that at this point in our country's history, it is important that we not reverse marriage equality, that we not reverse Roe v. Wade.”
Moderator Chris Wallace asked Trump if he wants to overturn Roe v. Wade, which along with its sister case Doe v. Bolton legalized abortion on demand in America.
“If they overturned it, it'll go back to the states,” Trump said.
Wallace pressed him, asking, “You just said you want to see the court protect the Second Amendment. Do you want to see the court overturn Roe v. Wade?”
“If we put another two or perhaps three justices on, that's really what's going to be–that will happen,” Trump responded. “That'll happen automatically in my opinion because I'm putting pro-life justices on the court. I will say this, it will go back to the states, and the states will then make a determination.”
Watch Trump and Clinton debate abortion:
Clinton proceeded to defend partial-birth and late-term abortion and baby body parts trafficker Planned Parenthood.
“Donald has said he's in favor of defunding Planned Parenthood,” she said. “He even supported shutting the government down to defund Planned Parenthood. I will defend Planned Parenthood. I will defend Roe v. Wade and I will defend women's rights to make their own healthcare decisions.”
She also hit Trump on a comment he made early in his campaign about the possibilty of punishing women for procuring abortions.
“We've come too far to have that turn back now,” said Clinton. “I could just not be more opposed to that kind of thinking.”
After Clinton defended the “heartbreaking, painful” decision to abort a baby late in pregnancy, Trump pointed out that this means, “What Hillary is saying in the ninth month you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb of the mother just prior to the birth of the baby. Now, you can say that that's okay, and Hillary can say that that's okay, but it's not okay with me. Because based on what she's saying and based on where she's going and where she's been, you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb in the ninth month on the final day. And that's not acceptable.”
Watch Trump and Clinton debate the Supreme Court and Roe v. Wade (full transcript follows):
A full transcript of the relevant portions of the debate is below:
Wallace: Secretary Clinton, Mr. Trump, welcome. Let's get right to it. The first topic is the Supreme Court. We — you both talked briefly about the court in the last debate, but I want to drill down on this because the next president will almost certainly have at least one appointment and likely or possibly two or three appointments, which means that you will in effect determine the balance of the court for what could be the next quarter century. First of all, where do you want to see the court take the country? And secondly, what's your view on how the Constitution should be interpreted? Do the founders' words mean what they say or is it a living document to be applied flexibly according to changing circumstances? In this segment, Secretary Clinton, you go first, you have two minutes.
Clinton: Thank you very much, Chris, and thanks to UNLV for hosting us. You know, I think when we talk about the Supreme Court it really raises the central issue in this election, namely, what kind of country are we going to be? What kind of opportunities will we provide for our citizens? What kind of rights will Americans have? And I feel strongly that the Supreme Court needs to stand on the side of the American people, not on the side of the powerful corporations and the wealthy.
For me, that means that we need a Supreme Court that will stand up on behalf of women's rights, on behalf of the rights of the LGBT community, that will stand up and say no to Citizens United, a decision that has undermined the election system in our country because of the way it permits dark, unaccountable money to come into our electoral system. I have major disagreements with my opponent about these issues and others that will be before the Supreme Court, but I feel that at this point in our country's history, it is important that we not reverse marriage equality, that we not reverse Roe v. Wade, that we stand up against Citizens United, we stand up for the rights of people in the workplace, that we stand up and basically say, 'the Supreme Court should represent all of us.' That's how I see the court and the kind of people that I would be looking to nominate to the court would be in the great tradition of standing up to the powerful, standing up on behalf of our rights as Americans, and I look forward to having that opportunity.
I would hope that the Senate would do its job and confirm the nominee that President Obama has sent to them. That's the way the Constitution fundamentally should operate. The president nominates and then the senate advises and consents or not, but they go forward with the process.
Wallace: Secretary Clinton, thank you. Mr. Trump, same question. Where do you want to see the court take the country and how do you believe the constitution should be interpreted?
Trump: Well, first of all, it's great to be with you and thank you, everybody. The Supreme Court, it's what it's all about. Our country is so, so, just so imperative that we have the right justices. Something happened recently where Justice Ginsburg made some very, very inappropriate statements toward me and toward a tremendous number of people, many, many millions of people that I represent, and she was forced to apologize and apologize she did. But these were statements that should never, ever have been made.
We need a Supreme Court that, in my opinion, is going to uphold the Second Amendment and all amendments, but the Second Amendment, which is under absolute siege. I believe if my opponent should win this race, which I truly don't think will happen, we will have a Second Amendment which will be a very, very small replica of what it is right now. But I feel that it's absolutely important that we uphold because of the fact that it is under such trauma. I feel that the justices that I am going to appoint — and I've named 20 of them — the justices that I'm going to appoint will be pro-life, they will have a conservative bent, they will be protecting the Second Amendment, they are great scholars in all cases and they're people of tremendous respect. They will interpret the Constitution the way the Founders wanted it interpreted.
And I believe that's very, very important. I don't think we should have justices appointed that decide what they want to hear. It's all about the Constitution of, of — and so important, the Constitution the way it was meant to be and those are the people that I will appoint.
Wallace: Let's pick up on another issue which divides you and the justices that whoever ends up winning this election appoints could have a dramatic effect there, and that's the issue of abortion. Mr. Trump, you're pro life. But I want to ask you specifically, do you want the [Supreme] Court, including the justices that you will name, to overturn Roe v. Wade which includes, in fact, states a woman's right to abortion?
Trump: Well, if that would happen, because I am pro-life and I will be appointing pro-life judges, I would think that that [will] go back to the individual states.
Wallace: But I'm asking you specifically —
Trump: If they overturned it, it'll go back to the states.
Wallace: What I'm asking you, sir, is do you want to see the court overturn? You just said you want to see the court protect the Second Amendment. Do you want to see the court overturn Roe v. Wade?
Trump: If we put another two or perhaps three justices on, that's really what's going to be–that will happen. That'll happen automatically in my opinion because I'm putting pro-life justices on the court. I will say this, it will go back to the states, and the states will then make a determination.
Wallace: Secretary Clinton?
Clinton: Well, I strongly support Roe v. Wade, which guarantees a constitutional right to a woman to make the most intimate, most difficult in many cases decisions about her healthcare that one can imagine. And in this case it's not only about Roe v. Wade. It is about what's happening right now in America. So many states are putting very stringent regulations on women that block them from exercising that choice to the extent that they are defunding Planned Parenthood, which, of course, provides all kinds of cancer screenings and other benefits for women in our country. Donald has said he's in favor of defunding Planned Parenthood. He even supported shutting the government down to defund Planned Parenthood. I will defend Planned Parenthood. I will defend Roe v. Wade and I will defend women's rights to make their own healthcare decisions.
Wallace: Secretary —
Clinton: And we've come too far to have that turn back now. Indeed, he said women should be punished, that there should be some form of punishment for women who obtain abortions. And I could just not be more opposed to that kind of thinking.
Wallace: I'm going to give you a chance to respond, but I want to ask you, Secretary Clinton, I want to explore how far you believe the right to abortion goes. You have been quoted as saying that the fetus has no Constitutional rights. You also voted against a ban on late-term partial birth abortions. Why?
Clinton: Because, Roe v. Wade very clearly sets out that there can be regulations on abortion so long as the life and the health of the mother are taken into account. And when I voted as a senator, I did not think that that was the case. The kinds of cases that fall at the end of pregnancy are often the most heartbreaking, painful decisions for families to make. I have met with women who toward the end of their pregnancy, get the worst news one could get, that their health is in jeopardy if they continue to carry to term or that something terrible has happened or just been discovered about the pregnancy. I do not think the United States government should be stepping in and making those most personal of decisions. So, you can regulate if you are doing so with the life and the health of the mother taken into account.
Wallace: Mr. Trump, your reaction and particularly on this issue of late-term partial birth abortion.
Trump: Well, I think it's terrible. If you go with what Hillary is saying in the ninth month you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb of the mother just prior to the birth of the baby. Now, you can say that that's okay, and Hillary can say that that's okay, but it's not okay with me. Because based on what she's saying and based on where she's going and where she's been, you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb in the ninth month on the final day. And that's not acceptable.
Clinton: Well, that is not what happens in these cases. And using that kind of scare rhetoric is just terribly unfortunate. You should meet with some of the women that I've met with, women I've known over the course of my life. This is one of the worst possible choices that any woman and her family has to make. And I do not believe the government should be making it. You know, I've had the great honor of traveling across the world on behalf of our country. 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. And I can tell you the government has no business in the decisions that women make with their families in accordance with their faith, with medical advice, and I will stand up for that right.
Wallace: All right. Just briefly, I want to move on.
Trump: And honestly, nobody has business doing what I just said, doing that as late as one or two or three or four days prior to birth, nobody has that.