During the last Democratic Party debate, Hillary Clinton demanded to know why the media wasn’t asking her about abortion. “We’ve not had one question about a woman’s right to make her own decisions about reproductive health care. Not one question,” she plaintively pointed out. Hilary Weaver at New York translated Hillary’s plea to mean: “Why the hell aren’t we talking about the fact that a bunch of conservative dudes want to police my body?”
Well, that’s not a question. That’s a political platitude with a question mark at the end. It’s also an inane way of framing a complex debate that, in its fairest reading, pits questions about life against privacy concerns. But Weaver is right. It’s exactly what Hillary would like to talk about. Because Democrats don’t want to answer questions about the science or the moral implications of abortion, they want to talk about a bunch of conservative dudes.
Hillary should be asked about abortion. It’s not widely known, for example, that most elected Democrats support legal abortion on demand to the moment of crowning — as long as the woman has huddled with her physician and family members and decided the fetus is a superfluous appendage and not a human being.
This, quite notably, is one of the only important decisions in everyday American life that Democrats believe government should stay out of.
So, since Clinton’s interested, why not start with the fundamental question: When does life begin? Is it whenever the mom decides life begins, or is it when science decides, or when courts decide, or when the kid is having her first birthday party?
This issue was broached by “Face the Nation” moderator John Dickerson when he asked Hillary: “Do you support a federal limit on abortion at any stage of pregnancy?” At the time, Clinton answered that she did not support any federal limitations on abortion. So, in other words, not at any stage. Period.
Yet in a later interview with Chuck Todd, she claimed that there “can be restrictions in the very end of the third trimester, but they have to take into account the life and health of the mother.” This was widely interpreted as Clinton walking back the initial position. But I’m convinced it was just a Clintonian prevarication. Question: Yes, there “can be” limitations, but do you, Hillary Clinton, candidate for the presidency of the United States in 2016, believe there should be any limitations on abortion?
Almost No Abortions Are for a Mother’s Life
Hillary also told CBS she thought “that the kind of late-term abortions that take place are because of medical necessity. And, therefore, I would hate to see the government interfering with that decision.”
This contention is made all the time and rarely challenged. In reality, most abortions of viable babies in America have nothing to do with protecting the life of the mother. Not even the abortion industry’s propaganda outfit, Guttmacher Institute, believes this is true. In the only study it conducted on the reasons women have late-term abortion, Guttmacher found that in “many ways, women who had later abortions were similar to those who obtained first-trimester procedures.”
At the pro-life Charlotte-Lozier Institute, Dr. Elizabeth Johnson argues that both medical literature and late-term abortion providers show the majority of late-term procedures are not performed for “maternal health complications or lethal fetal anomalies discovered late in pregnancy.” So it’s, at least, a debatable contention.
Perhaps Hillary could clarify her position by answering this question: “Do you support the legal right of women to have abortions in the late third trimester even if their life is not threatened in any way?”
Don’t Stop There
Some potential follow ups:
Have you ever been to a NICU unit? What is the moral or scientific difference between disposing of (or whatever euphemism for “killing” you’re comfortable with) a viable baby in utero or in the hospital?
Do you believe women who are pro-life or oppose late-term abortions should be equated to terrorist groups?
Do you believe women should have the legal right to use abortion as a tool of eugenics? For example, should abortion be available to people who don’t want to be saddled with a Down Syndrome child?
Do you believe women should have the legal right to have abortions as a means of selecting the sex of their babies? How about eye color?
Will New Evidence Make a Difference?
At the debate, Hillary pivoted off her support of overturning the First Amendment via Citizens United to bring up abortion again. “The only people I would appoint to the Supreme Court are people who believe Roe v. Wade is settled,” Hillary said, who is malleable on free expression but not on late-term abortions.
So, question: If new science comes to light—if, for instance, science proves a fetus can feel pain and is sentient at 20 weeks—would you change your mind? Or is abortion an inherent human right that can’t be amended no matter what evidence surfaces?
When then-presidential candidate Rand Paul, whose rhetoric on life issues is far less cowardly than that of most Republicans, was attacked by Debbie Wasserman Schultz, he asked her if she thought it was okay to kill a “seven-pound baby in the uterus.” Her answer: “I support letting women and their doctors make this decision without government getting involved. Period. End of story. ”
So yes. No limits. This position, judging by almost any poll, is considered extremist by a majority of Americans, including women. Yet the media fails to dig in as they might with someone like Todd Akin, who has similarly odious positions. Why aren’t we asking every Democrat, including Hillary, if he or she believes there should be absolutely no limits on abortion, period? “Do you believe the act of killing a seven-pound, viable baby in the uterus for convenience is immoral?”