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How 2020 Democrats are reacting to state abortion restrictions

On the campaign trail, 2020 Democrats condemned a new Alabama law that bans abortion even in cases of rape and incest. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., called the measure, as well as other recent state efforts to restrict abortion, “blatantly unconstitutional.” Many of the candidates vowed that if elected president, they would nominate only judges who would uphold Roe vs. Wade. Amna Nawaz reports.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    It is perhaps the most controversial issue facing the country, but, this weekend, Democratic candidates for president didn't shy away from the issue of abortion, and neither did the president.

    Amna Nawaz brings us up to speed.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    In Birmingham, Alabama…

  • Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.:

    Make no mistake about it. These laws are dangerous, they are regressive, and they are blatantly unconstitutional.

    (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

  • Amna Nawaz:

    Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders criticized the just-passed Alabama law that bans abortions after eight weeks. Meanwhile, in New Hampshire, during a FOX News town hall, South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg said the next president should nominate judges who promise to uphold Roe v. Wade.

  • Pete Buttigieg:

    I believe in the right of the woman to make her own decisions about her reproductive health and about her body is a national right. I believe it's an American freedom. And I believe that should be enjoyed by women in every state.

    (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

  • Amna Nawaz:

    The two Democratic presidential candidates were not alone. New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand each said this weekend they, too, would nominate pro-Roe judges, if elected.

    For his part, President Trump said he disagrees with the Alabama law. He tweeted Saturday he is — quote — "strongly pro-life, with the three exceptions, rape, incest and protecting the life of the mother." The Alabama law has no exceptions for rape or incest.

    While abortion rights policies unite most Democratic candidates, several took to the trail this weekend to distinguish themselves on other issues.

  • Joe Biden:

    I'm running for our country, Democrats, Republicans, and independents, a different path.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    In Philadelphia, former Vice President Joe Biden brought his message of unity for his campaign's official kickoff rally, stressing his ability to bring the party together.

    Across the country in Los Angeles, California Senator Kamala Harris announced an equal pay proposal that would punish corporations for wage discrimination.

  • Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif.:

    When you lift up the economic status of women, you lift up the economic status of families, and communities, and all of society.

    (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

  • Amna Nawaz:

    And Senator Sanders, during a multistate tour through the south, introduced a 10-point education plan on Saturday, the 65th anniversary of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education ruling.

    The plan includes banning for-profit charter schools, triple funding for Title I schools, working with states to increase teacher pay, and allocating $5 billion for summer and after-school programs, trying to set himself apart in a crowded field of 23 candidates, with over eight months to go before the first votes are even cast.

    For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Amna Nawaz.

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