The Vermont senator was asked on Wednesday whether he would seek to “empower women” as part of his plan to control the population and mitigate climate change.

“Human population growth has more than doubled in the past 50 years. The planet cannot sustain this growth,” an audience member said.

“I realize this is a poisonous topic for politicians, but it’s crucial to face. Empowering women and educating everyone on the need to curb population growth seems a reasonable campaign to enact. Would you be courageous enough to discuss this issue and make it a key feature of a plan to address climate catastrophe?”

Sanders responded: “The answer is yes and the answer has everything to do with the fact that women — in the United States of America, by the way — have a right to control their own bodies and make reproductive decisions.”

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