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Despite Biden’s dismal debate performance, abortion care providers remain resolute

Proponents of abortion rights were dumbfounded by President Joe Biden’s vague and sometimes incoherent messages on abortion access during Thursday night’s debate, especially when he declined to rebuke former president Donald Trump’s false claims that Democrats are in favor of killing babies.

“The debate was a disaster,” said Dr. Warren Hern, director of the Boulder Abortion Clinic in Colorado. “It’s going to be hard to recover from this.”

The debate should have been a layup for people in favor of abortion rights. Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, touted the fact that he nominated three anti-abortion justices to the Supreme Court while in office from 2017 to 2021. As a result, the constitutional right to an abortion was overturned in 2022, leaving states in charge of whether to allow women to terminate a pregnancy and at what stage.

But Biden did little to challenge his opponent on the issue during Thursday’s showdown. He said the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade was a “terrible thing,” but then changed the subject to a nursing student who was murdered earlier this year on the University of Georgia campus — an incident that had nothing to do with abortion.

Julie Burkhart, co-owner of Hope Clinic, which provides abortions in Granite City, Illinois, said that Biden’s weak showing on the topic sparked a sense of “discouragement, alarm and concern” among her colleagues. She said she fears a second Trump presidency could lead to a national ban on abortion.

“This presidential election, I feel, is the most pivotal election that I will ever witness in my lifetime,” Burkhart said.

Abortion opponents said the same. They are hopeful that a second Trump presidency would lead to “reasonable measures” to make sure that “tax

Read more on nbcnews.com