Donald Trump says the overturning of the seminal American legal case linked to abortion will happen “automatically” if he becomes president and appoints his choice of judges to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Republican presidential candidate was asked point-blank by Fox News moderator Chris Wallace during Wednesday night’s presidential debate if he wanted to see Roe v. Wade overturned.
In response, Trump said he will be appointing pro-life judges, and if they overturn it, it “will go back to the individual states.”
Pressed again on whether that means he himself wants to see the landmark decision, ruled on by the country’s highest court in 1973, overturned, Trump replied:
“If we put another two or perhaps three justices, that will happen. That will happen automatically, in my opinion, because I am putting pro-life justices on the court.”
Trump’s competitor, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, maintained that she strongly believes in a woman’s right to choose an abortion.
“I will defend planned parenthood, I will defend Roe v. Wade,” she said, adding that the legal decision clearly sets out that there can be regulations on abortion so long as the life and health of the mother are taken into account.
“I do not think the United States government should be stepping in and making those most personal of decisions.”
At that point, Trump raised the issue of late-term abortions, alleging that in the ninth month of pregnancy “you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb of the mother … (Clinton) can say that that’s OK … but it’s not OK with me.”
WATCH: Donald Trump lays down strong language on late-term abortion
In fact, the Supreme Court decisions on abortion, including Roe v. Wade, allow states to impose additional restrictions on late-term abortions.
Many states prohibit any post-viability abortion (the point at which the fetus can survive outside the womb) or abortion after a certain number of weeks of pregnancy, unless it’s done to protect the health or life of the mother.
Clinton said she has personally met women who have had late-term abortions because their health was in danger or there was a major problem with the pregnancy, calling the decision “heartbreaking.”