Julian Castro, who served as secretary of housing and urban development under President Obama, offered a vigorous defense of abortion rights for transgender Americans during the first Democratic primary debate on Wednesday night.
Asked if his health-care platform would provide public funding for abortion, Castro replied emphatically in the affirmative and emphasized the importance of facilitating access to abortion for transgender women, or biological males incapable of baring children. He presumably intended to refer to transgender men, or biological women who have transitioned.
“All of you on stage support a women’s right to abortion. You all support some version of a government health-care option. Would your plan cover abortion, Mr. Secretary?” asked MSNBC debate moderator Lester Holt.
“Yes it would. I don’t believe only in reproductive freedom, I believe in reproductive justice. And what means is just because a woman, or let’s also not forget someone in the trans community — a trans female — is poor, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t exercise that right to choose. So I absolutely would cover that right to have an abortion,” Castro said.
The former San Antonio mayor went on to attack the restrictive abortion legislation passed this year in Georgia, Alabama, and Missouri, and vowed to appoint federal judges who would display greater deference to the precedent set by the Supreme Court.
“In our country today, a person’s right to choose is under assault in places like Missouri and Alabama and Georgia. I would appoint judges to the federal bench that understand the precedent of Roe v. Wade and will respect it. And in addition to that, make sure that we fight hard as we transition our healthcare system to one where everybody can get and exercise that right,” he concluded.