At the sixth annual Women in the World Summit last Thursday, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton told attendees that “deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed,” while discussing “reproductive healthcare” for women.
It’s interesting that in her first official speech on the campaign trail, the former Senator decided to focus on such a divisive issue – and didn’t get into the specifics.
Clinton continued, “Far too many women are denied access to reproductive health care and safe childbirth, and laws don’t count for much if they’re not enforced. Rights have to exist in practice — not just on paper… Everyone deserves a chance to live up to his or her God-given potential.”
This comes on the heels of the week-long public abortion debate we witnessed between Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Chairman of the Democratic National Committee.
The day after Paul announced his 2016 candidacy, reporters asked the Kentucky Senator where he stood on abortion, referencing an email the DNC recently sent out to reporters. After answering their question, he went on: “You go back and go ask Debbie Wasserman-Schultz if she’s okay with killing a seven-pound baby that’s just not born yet. Ask her when life begins, and ask Debbie when she’s willing to protect life. When you get an answer from Debbie, come back to me.”
DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz quickly fired back with the following statement:
“Here’s an answer. I support letting women and their doctors make this decision without government getting involved. Period. End of story.”
With that hasty rebuttal and in numerous media appearances over the following week, Wasserman-Schultz all but confirmed Paul’s line of questioning and made the Democrats’ position quite clear. The leader of the Democratic Party believes that seven-pound babies at full gestation deserve zero protection — and that abortion should be legal in all cases, for any reason, no matter what.
All of the GOP candidates have clearly stated where they stand on abortion. Each candidate has voiced strong opposition to late-term abortion and pledged support for the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would limit abortions after 20 weeks.
This is a clear distinction from the near-silence we saw on the abortion issue throughout the 2012 campaign. In 2012, the Democrats played offense on abortion, while Republicans backed down or pivoted any time the social issues arose.
With Republicans clearly playing offense on abortion this time around, what does this mean for Democrats? What does it mean for Hillary Clinton?
Hillary Clinton needs to explain her position on abortion and be specific about it — just like the Republican candidates have done. Does Mrs. Clinton stand with the DNC and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz on abortion? If she had been asked at the Women in the World Summit yesterday if “reproductive healthcare” included aborting a seven-pound baby, what would her answer have been?
Clinton previously advocated that abortions should be “safe, legal, and rare.” She used that phrase in 1999 at a Roe v. Wade anniversary event and kept with that angle in the years following, including during her race to the White House in 2008.
Now Clinton appears to be joining the most radical fringes of the pro-abortion movement. That would be a mistake.
Clinton needs to distance herself from the DNC’s extremist position — otherwise she could suffer severe electoral consequences. Remember Wendy Davis? Davis famously filibustered a bill that would have banned abortion in Texas after 20-weeks gestation. Davis was lauded by national pro-abortion groups for her abortion efforts, but she went on to lose the race for Governor of Texas because of her abortion extremism and because of now-Governor Greg Abbott’s willingness to go on offense on life issues.
The majority of American women strongly favor some abortion restrictions, with a whopping 60 percent of women adamantly opposing late-term, third trimester abortions. Wendy Davis was seen as too extreme on abortion — now Debbie Wasserman-Schultz has become the new poster-child for abortion extremism.
It all comes down to this. Does Hillary Clinton stand with the majority of women across this great nation and believe that it’s time to stop the violent abortion of children past 20 weeks gestation? Or does she stand with Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and the DNC and believe that there should be no limits to abortion through all nine months of pregnancy?
If Hillary goes with the latter, it could doom her chances to become the first female President of the United States of America.