Presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders spoke at the Democratic debate about a rarely uttered truth of politics: hypocrisy. The Vermont senator accused the entire host of Republican presidential candidates currently vying for their party's nomination of taking a hypocritical stance on how much control and power the government should have when it comes to women's reproductive rights.
In a brief statement following comments from Hillary Clinton on the importance of protecting the gains women have made in politics, Sanders called out every single Republican presidential candidate for failing to support women's reproductive rights:
Let me concur with the secretary. No question, women's rights are under fierce attack all over the country and I'll tell you something that really galls me: I will not shock anybody to suggest that in politics there is occasionally a little bit of hypocrisy. Just a little bit. All over this country, we have Republican candidates for president saying, 'We hate the government, the government is the enemy. We're going to cut Social Security to help you. We're going to cut Medicare, Medicaid, federal aid to education to help you because the government is so terrible.' But by the way, when it comes to a woman having to make a very personal choice... Ah! In that case, my Republican colleagues love the government and want the government to make that choice for every woman in America. If that's not hypocrisy, I don't know what hypocrisy is.
Although Sanders refrained from using the word abortion directly (much to the chagrin of some Twitter users), his pro-choice stance was clear as a bell. Both Clinton and Sanders have extensive voting records when it comes to supporting women's reproductive rights and have been vocal critics of Republican attempts to defund Planned Parenthood. But are Republican presidential candidates' beliefs on abortion as easily pegged as Sanders claims?
The short answer is, yes. Across the aisle, all seven of the remaining Republican presidential candidates have said they oppose abortion and would like to defund Planned Parenthood. Jeb Bush declared himself the "most pro-life governor on this stage" at CNN's GOP debate on Sept. 16, 2015. Although Ben Carson does not have a voting record to refer to, the retired neurosurgeon has written multiple op-eds opposing both abortion rights and funding Planned Parenthood. Ted Cruz co-sponsored S.1670 the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act in 2013, which banned abortion at 20 weeks. Throughout his time in Congress, John Kasich received a 100 percent rating from the National Right to Life Committee and said he would sign legislation in 2015 in Ohio that banned abortion when the fetus is at risk for having Down Syndrome. A vocal opponent of Roe v. Wade, Marco Rubio told NBC News last August he would "support any legislation that reduced the number of abortions." Once deemed a reluctant pro-choice supporter, Donald Trump was turned pro-life by a friend in 2011. During his presidential campaign, Trump has said he would defund Planned Parenthood and look to overturn Roe v. Wade .
It's a breath of fresh air when a politician will speak openly about the circus that resides in Washington. However, in calling out his Republican rivals' hypocrisy on abortion rights, Sanders is doing more than simply telling it like it is, he's muscling his way into the GOP ring. With Sanders' New Hampshire win and the Democratic virtual tie in Iowa, Republican presidential candidates can no longer pretend Clinton is the only Democrat they need to worry about. Throughout Thursday's debate, Sanders aggressively declared himself a competitor to be reckoned with.