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Here’s how people reacted to Hillary Clinton’s defence of abortion rights

Click to play video: 'Presidential debate: Hillary attacks Trump’s idea on punishing women who get abortions' Presidential debate: Hillary attacks Trump’s idea on punishing women who get abortions
WATCH: Hillary Clinton attacks Trump’s idea on punishing women who get abortions – Oct 19, 2016

For the first time in this presidential election cycle, last night’s third and final debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump saw the opposing candidates discuss abortion rights. And unlike in other moments when the Democratic hopeful was criticized for demurring to her opponent, Clinton made a forceful and impassioned plea for women and their right to make autonomous decisions on their health.

Couched in a discussion about appointing a Supreme Court Justice, Trump said he would appoint someone who would “automatically” reverse Roe v. Wade, the historic 1973 Supreme Court case that legalized abortion in the U.S.

Clinton countered: “I strongly support Roe v. Wade, which guarantees a constitutional right to women to make the most intimate, most difficult in many cases, decisions about her healthcare that one can imagine. So many states are putting very stringent regulations on women that block them from exercising that choice… We have come too far to have that turn back now.”

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Clinton’s comments come at a time in U.S. politics when women feel their reproductive rights are under attack. In March, Florida passed a bill that saw funding slashed to preventative reproductive health services, including birth control and cancer screenings, and harsher restrictions placed on abortion clinics.

Debate moderator Chris Wallace quickly turned the acrimonious discussion to late-term abortion (an abortion that’s performed after the 20th week of gestation), and asked Clinton pointedly why she opposed a ban on it while she was in the Senate.

“The kinds of cases that fall at the end of pregnancy are often the most heartbreaking, painful decisions for families to make,” she said. “I have met with women who toward the end of pregnancy get the worst news one can get — that their health is in jeopardy if they continue to carry to term or that something terrible has just been discovered about the pregnancy. I do not think the U.S. government should be stepping in and making those most personal of decisions.”

The media immediately jumped on her response as a symbolic moment in history: one in which women’s health rights were being discussed, defended and even humanized by a woman in a presidential election.

READ MORE: ‘Bad Hombres’: Social media explodes over Donald Trump’s immigration comments

“When men discuss abortion among themselves, as they do in far too many policy discussions, it takes on a detached air of philosophical principles,” wrote Slate‘s Christina Cauterucci. “When Clinton’s on the stage, it becomes about flesh and blood: women’s bodies and their most private, sacred rights to determine the courses of their own lives. Of all the reasons it benefits the nation to have more women in politics, this may be the biggest — the shift of women’s lives from the realm of hypotheses into the real world.”

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Vogue.com‘s Michelle Ruiz echoed her sentiments: “Male politicians regularly debate, and legislate, on the topic of what women should and should not be able to do with their own bodies; but for the first time in history, a woman was the one doing the talking — and it made all the difference.”

WATCH: Donald Trump lays down strong language on late-term abortion

Click to play video: 'Presidential debate: Donald Trump lays down strong language on late-term abortion' Presidential debate: Donald Trump lays down strong language on late-term abortion
Presidential debate: Donald Trump lays down strong language on late-term abortion – Oct 19, 2016
Trump’s response to Clinton’s defence of late-term abortion elicited a passionate reaction on social media. The GOP candidate described late-term abortion as “tak[ing] the baby and rip[ping] the baby out of the womb of the mother just prior to the birth of the baby.”

Twitter users couldn’t help pointing out his ignorance of the procedure.

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Clinton swiftly rebuked Trump’s description of late-term abortion, calling his words “scare rhetoric,” and refused to back down on her beliefs.

“I’ve been to countries where governments either force women to have abortions like they used to do in China and force women to bear children like they used to do in Romania, and I can tell you the government has no business in the decisions that women make, with their families, in accordance with their faith, with medical advice,” she stated. “I will stand up for that right.”

And while many agreed with Clinton’s stance, there were also several who vehemently disagreed with her point of view. (Note: there is some explicit and disturbing language used below.)

The presidential election will take place on Nov. 8.

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