Abortion Extremism, Warfare, and More: Fact-Checking the First 2024 Presidential Debate

Presidents Joe Biden and Donald Trump faced off in Atlanta on Thursday night before an empty arena and two CNN moderators for what was billed as the first presidential debate of 2024. While a lackluster performance by Biden dominated headlines and sent Democrats’ tongues wagging about possibly replacing him at the head of the ticket, Biden embraced abortion-on-demand without limit and made a number of factually erroneous statements.

Roe v. Wade allows late-term abortion

The debate turned to abortion early, as CNN’s Dana Bash asked Biden, “Do you support any legal limits on how late a woman should be able to terminate a pregnancy?”

“I support Roe v. Wade, which had three trimesters,” said Biden. He then seemed to say Roe v. Wade allowed the state to protect life in the third trimester, without endorsing any specific pro-life protection.

“Under Roe v. Wade, you have late-term abortion,” retorted President Trump. “We don’t think that’s a good thing. We think it’s a radical thing. We think the Democrats are the radicals, not the Republicans.”

“They’re radical, because they will take the life of a child in the eighth month, the ninth month, and even after birth,” said Trump. Turning to Biden, he said, “He’s willing to, as we say, rip the baby out of the womb in the ninth month and kill the baby,” returning to a memorable line from his 2016 debate with Hillary Clinton.

“You’re lying,” insisted Biden, who slurred his words badly all night. “Roe v. Wade does not provide for that. That’s not the circumstance. Only woman’s life is in danger. She’s going to die. That’s the only circumstance which that can happen. But we are not for late-term abortion, period — period, period.”

However, Roe v. Wade merely allowed states to begin protecting life after the point of viability — originally set at 28 weeks, well into the third trimester. Its companion case — Doe v. Bolton, which was decided the same day — allowed abortion to protect the “health of the mother.” This included mental and emotional health, and sometimes financial circumstances, in effect allowing third-trimester abortions at any time.

Biden has endorsed the Women’s Health Protection Act, which goes far beyond the terms of Roe to strike down nearly every state and local pro-life law and ordinance. The Democratic Party platform endorses taxpayer-funded abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy.

Biden went on to defend the intellectual integrity of Roe v. Wade, which held that abortion, while not explicitly mentioned in the Constitution, was protected by the emanation of a penumbra thereof. “The vast majority of constitutional scholars supported Roe,” said Biden. “This idea that they were all against it is just ridiculous.”

In fact, far-left Ruth Bader Ginsburg described Roe as “heavy-handed judicial intervention.” A former clerk to Justice Harry Blackmun, who wrote the Roe decision, said“Roe borders on the indefensible,” because “it has little connection to the constitutional right it purportedly interpreted. A constitutional right to privacy broad enough to include abortion has no meaningful foundation in constitutional text, history, or precedent.”

A pandemic of women being raped by their sisters?

In the same exchange, Biden said America needs abortion-on-demand, because “there’s a lot of young women who are being raped by their in-laws, by their spouses, brothers and sisters.” He did not explain how a woman’s sister could impregnate her. Rape accounts for approximately 1% of all abortions, with incest another 1%. While the law rightly punishes rape harshly, no legal code in the world considered being conceived by rape a capital crime for which the baby deserves the death penalty.

Ronald Reagan wanted abortion returned to the states?

Donald Trump also muddied the waters a bit while boasting of his role in returning the issue of abortion to the democratic process after 50 years of judicial diktats. “I put three great Supreme Court justices on the court, and they happened to vote in favor of killing Roe v. Wade and moving it back to the states,” he said of Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett, all of whom ruled for the 2022 Dobbs decision. Yet Trump seemed to see state sovereignty over the issue as the primary focus of the pro-life movement.

“Ronald Reagan wanted it brought back” to the states, said Trump. In fact, President Reagan supported federal legislation to protect life incrementally, as well as a Human Life Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protecting all children from abortion. (Then-Senator Joe Biden voted in favor of the abortion-abolishing constitutional amendment in 1982.)

Trump also seemingly endorsed the Supreme Court’s recent decision not to challenge the FDA’s rushed and irregular approval of the abortion drug, mifepristone. “The Supreme Court just approved the abortion pill, and I agree with their decision to have done that, and I will not block it,” he said of FDA v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine. Abortion pills account for approximately two-thirds of all abortions nationwide, and climbing.

Trump added that he supported “the exceptions” to allow abortion in the cases of rape, incest, and to save the life of the mother. “Some people don’t,” Trump acknowledged. “Follow your heart.”

Inflation: Biden says he’s worried about the cost of groceries, gasoline, and housing

Biden spoke of his brief few years as a child in Scranton, Pennsylvania. “I come of household where the kitchen table — if things weren’t able to be met during the month, was a problem. Price of eggs, the price of gas, the price of housing, the price of a whole range of things,” he said in a disjointed speaking style that dominated the evening. During Biden’s presidency, groceries have risen 26%, eggs 85%, gasoline 46%, housing approximately 19%. Overall inflation is up approximately 20% since Biden took office.

When asked how he would respond to black Americans who do not feel they have gotten ahead fast enough, Biden replied, “I don’t blame them for being disappointed. Inflation is still hurting them badly.”

Biden accepted no blame for the situation, stating, “The combination of what I was left with and corporate greed are the reason why we’re in this problem right now.” Critics accurately predicted Biden’s extra COVID-19 stimulus when the economy was already rebounding, coupled with his $800 billion Inflation Reduction Act, would trigger inflation. Biden seemingly contracted himself later, acknowledging, “There was no inflation when I became president. You know why? The economy was flat on its back.”

Biden claimed he inherited “15% unemployment.” The unemployment rate in January 2021 was 6.3%.

Trump added Biden’s “big kill” on black economic fortunes is the open border. “They’re taking black jobs and they’re taking Hispanic jobs,” he said.

Trump increased taxes?

“This guy has increased your taxes.” Yet in the opening of the debate, Biden admitted, under President Trump, “we had the largest tax cut in American history, $2 trillion,” referring to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which Trump wants to extend. “Now you want a new tax cut of $5 trillion over the next 10 years, which is going to fundamentally bankrupt the country,” Biden said.

“I said, nobody even making under $400,000 had a single penny increasing their taxes and it will not. And if I’m reelected, that’ll be the case again.” President Biden endorsed several budget proposals that would have raised taxes on those making less than $400,000, including increasing fees for gun registration and cigarette taxes, or reinstating Obamacare’s $695 penalty.

No U.S. soldiers died under Biden?

Joe Biden claimed the “truth is, I’m the only president this century, that doesn’t have any, this decade, that doesn’t have any troops dying anywhere in the world, like he did.” In reality, 13 U.S. soldiers died during a suicide bombing at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul after Biden ordered the withdrawal of U.S. soldiers from the war-torn nation. The withdrawal left sophisticated military equipment, and U.S. citizens, behind enemy lines. Biden attended the dignified transfer of the troops, where cameras caught him looking at his watch. In January, another three U.S. servicemen died in Jordan by a drone strike the administration pinned on an Iranian-backed militia.

Trump called Biden’s chaotic exit from Afghanistan “the most embarrassing moment in the history of our country.”

Trump wants to exit NATO?

“This a guy who wants to get out of NATO,” stated Biden. President Trump has never talked about exiting NATO, although he told foreign leaders, if they fail to meet their defense obligations, he would reconsider sending U.S. troops to their defense as required by Article 5.

Climate change “the only existential threat”

“The only existential threat to humanity is climate change,” said Biden. Yet decades of environmental warnings about impending global catastrophes have failed spectacularly. Trump said the real challenge to global stability is that the Biden administration has kicked off “wars that will never end,” such as Biden’s breaking up peace talks between Ukraine and Russia. “He will drive us into World War III, and we’re closer to World War III than anybody can imagine.”

Immigration: No terrorists crossed the border under Biden?

Biden seemingly denied the possibility of terrorists entering the open southern, and increasingly porous northern, borders, although his administration has documented monthly occurrences. “The only terrorist who has done anything crossing the border is one who came along and killed three under his administration, killed — an al-Qaeda person in his administration, killed,” said Biden. He later backtracked, saying, “I’m not saying no terrorist ever got through.”

The Biden administration’s U.S. Customs and Border Protection recorded encountering 316 people who are on the terror watchlist since last October, as well as 736 in 2023, 478 in 2022, and 173 in 2021.

“We had the safest border in history,” said Trump. “Now we have the worst border in history.”

An additional debate is scheduled for the fall, but after Biden’s meandering statements, it is unclear whether such a debate will take place — and, in a growing number of Democrats’ minds, whether he will be their nominee.

AUTHOR

Ben Johnson

Ben Johnson is senior reporter and editor at The Washington Stand.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2024 Family Research Council.


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