Where The Candidates Stand On Abortion Access

Millennial women are ready to take the fight to protect reproductive rights to the ballot box this election.

Preserving access to abortion ranked among the top five most important issues for women ages 18 to 35, according to a new Refinery29/ABC News poll. About 11% of survey respondents cited abortion as the most important issue to them. The poll asked about a range of topics outside the election mainstays of the economy, terrorism, and healthcare, including economic inequality, student loan debt, and gun rights.

Ahead, a look at where the candidates stand on abortion rights. For more on the issues that matter most to millennial women, check out the Refinery29/ABC News Vote Your Values poll here.


Hillary Clinton

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Where She Stands: Clinton is a longtime supporter of abortion access. Throughout much of her career, she has said she wants abortion to be "safe, legal, and rare," though her comments this cycle have called for abortion that's "safe and legal." She has, however, voiced support for "late-pregnancy regulation that would have exceptions for the life and health of the mother." The former U.S. senator and secretary of state has denounced efforts to defund Planned Parenthood and been a vocal supporter of contraception access. Planned Parenthood Action Fund endorsed Clinton's campaign earlier this year — marking the first time the group took a side during the Democratic presidential primary.

In Her Words:
"I believe we need to protect access to safe and legal abortion — not just in principle, but in practice. Any right that requires you to take extraordinary measures to access it is no right at all."

Bernie Sanders


Where He Stands:
Sanders describes himself as "very strongly pro-choice." He believes abortion should be legal, and a "choice to be made between a woman, her physician, and her family." Unlike Clinton, Sanders seems to support abortion without exception, even late in a pregnancy. He opposes GOP efforts targeting Planned Parenthood, saying, "We are not going to allow the extreme right-wing to defund Planned Parenthood, we are going to expand it," and supports access to contraception.

In His Words:
"I happen to believe that it is wrong for the government to be telling a woman what to be doing with her own body."



Ted Cruz


Where He Stands:
The Texas Republican opposes abortion, even in cases of rape and incest. He has backed laws creating stricter regulations for abortion clinics, such as requiring that clinic doctors gain admitting privileges at local hospitals, including one in Texas that is currently being challenged in the Supreme Court. He has also spoken out against Planned Parenthood during numerous GOP debates, and worked to defund the organization. His campaign website claims that he will "instruct his Attorney General to investigate Planned Parenthood on day one."

In His Words:
"Life is a precious gift from God. We must cherish and defend it. Without life, there is no liberty; without life, there is no pursuit of happiness."

Donald Trump


Where He Stands:
Trump says he is "totally against abortion." While he previously described himself as pro-choice, Trump now says he supports a ban on the procedure, with exceptions for cases of rape, incest, and when the life of the mother is at risk. The wealthy businessman recently garnered national attention for suggesting that if a ban on abortions was enacted, women who sought the procedure should be punished. He later backtracked on that statement. Still, Trump also says he supports Planned Parenthood's "very good work for millions of women," though he doesn't stand behind the abortion services the organization provides.

In His Words:
"As far as Planned Parenthood is concerned, I'm pro-life, I'm totally against abortion having to do with Planned Parenthood," Trump said earlier this year. "But millions and millions of women — cervical cancer, breast cancer — are helped by Planned Parenthood. So you can say whatever you want, but they have millions of women going through Planned Parenthood that are helped greatly."

John Kasich

Where He Stands: Kasich opposes abortion access. He has said he supports exceptions for rape, incest, and life of the mother, calling them "reasonable." As governor of Ohio, he signed a law banning most abortions after 20 weeks into a pregnancy. The measure included an exception for cases where the woman's life is in danger, but not for pregnancies caused by rape or incest, reproductive rights groups said. He's signed 16 abortion and women's health-related bills since entering office in 2011 — every single one that landed on his desk, according to the website FiveThirtyEight. The new laws included measures cutting funding for Planned Parenthood and requiring ultrasounds prior to abortions. As a member of Congress, he voted to defund Planned Parenthood and supported a ban on so-called partial birth abortions, according to his website. Still, in the current campaign, he has softened his language on the topic.
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In His Words:
"Obviously, it's the law of the land now, and we live with the law of the land."
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