Dana Weinstein was pregnant with her third child, 29 weeks in, less than three months to go. She and her husband wanted this child. Then, terrible news: a routine sonogram revealed a brain anomaly that meant their baby almost certainly wouldn't survive, and whatever life it had would be full of suffering.
Imagine making the decision that faced Dana and her husband.
Now imagine Donald Trump making that decision for them.
Trump had a terrible debate Wednesday night. He was irritable and irresponsible. He repeatedly took Hillary Clinton's bait and lashed out childishly. ("You're the puppet.") His dark intimation that he would refuse to concede when he loses on election night doesn't just undermine our democracy, it could lead to real violence.
But most of all he was – as he always is, not just in the three presidential debates he lost decisively but also in interviews, at his rallies, and probably in every conversation he has ever had in his entire life – shockingly ignorant. And nowhere in Las Vegas was his ignorance on brighter, flashier display than on the subject of late-term abortion.
It was shocking when moderator Chris Wallace asked a direct question about abortion, a subject debate moderators usually avoid like the plague. (The topic came up in the vice presidential debate, but not directly from a moderator question.) Clinton offered a full-throated defense of a woman's right to access abortion, saying she "will defend Roe v. Wade" because "we have come too far to have that turn back now."
Trump said he'd appoint anti-abortion judges who will overturn Roe and then "the states will then make a determination." Many states have already made that determination, putting strict anti-abortion laws on the books that would effectively end abortion rights the moment the Supreme Court reverses Roe.
Then Wallace asked Clinton about her support of late-term abortion rights, and she explained exactly why they're so important.
"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."
When Trump opened his mouth to respond, he released a flurry of ignorance so ugly it would have been shocking if it weren't coming from the planet's most ignorant excuse for a human being. "I think it's terrible if you go with what Hillary is saying," Trump said, lying about what Clinton had said: "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."
"You can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb on the ninth month on the final day," he continued, getting the facts so deeply, offensively wrong you could smell his stupidity through the television screen. Of course, abortions do not take place at nine months.
For the past few years, in Congress and state legislatures across the country, Republicans have been on a tear, pushing laws banning abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy based on pseudoscience claiming that's when fetuses start feeling pain.
But these Republicans don't care about pain. They don't care about the pain of mothers like Dana Weinstein, faced with a tragedy and forced to make a difficult decision. They don't care about other mothers who will literally die if they can't end their pregnancies late in their terms. They don't care about the suffering these women go through.
If Donald Trump becomes president and fulfills his promise to appoint right-wing, anti-abortion judges to the Supreme Court, he'll be in charge of these women's decisions. He'll have forced these women to carry their pregnancies to term, to carry a child who won’t survive, to put their own lives in danger. And in some cases, those policies will kill them.
It is already nearly impossible to access late-term abortion care in this country. Weinstein was lucky enough to be able to afford to fly to Colorado to a doctor who could do the procedure at that late stage of her pregnancy. She could find someone to care for her two children. For many women, that wouldn't have been an option. And with anti-abortion legislators pushing stringent new regulations all the time, for many women the right to choose is already a meaningless abstraction. Under a Trump presidency, that right would virtually disappear.
Later in the debate, Trump laughably claimed, as he has before, "nobody has more respect for women that I do – nobody." But the man who bragged about grabbing women "by the pussy," who called them "fat pigs," is not the world's most respectful man. But it isn't just his demeaning comments or the sexual assaults multiple women have come forward to accuse him of. It isn't just the creepy way he has sexualized his own daughter.
Donald Trump doesn't respect women enough to learn about women like Dana Weinstein. He doesn't listen to their stories. He doesn't realize that the decisions he will thankfully never get a chance to make as president of the United States would inevitably lead to some of them dying. He simply doesn't care.
Watch how women will take down Donald Trump.