A video is making the rounds on Facebook and Twitter, in which Hillary Clinton is asked about her views on abortion. More specifically, she was asked about the Obama administration’s involvement in weakening pro-life laws in other countries. Her response is well planned, brilliantly worded, and absolutely disturbing.
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I see friends posting comments regarding how beautiful and intellectual Hillary’s answer is, but I cannot overlook the fact that the enthusiastic responses to her comments are missing the point. Hillary’s excited followers have become wrapped up in a tangle of emotional arguments that fail to address the core of the abortion issue. Hillary conjures up strong emotions, but her argument merely redirects the conversation.
The following is an excerpt of Hillary’s response:
“When I think about the suffering that I have seen of women around the world, I’ve been in hospitals in Brazil where half the women were enthusiastically and joyfully greeting new babies and the other half were fighting for their lives against botched abortions. I’ve been in African countries where 12 and 13 year old girls are bearing children. I have been in Asian countries where the denial of family planning consigns women to lives of oppression and hardship…We happen to think that family planning is an important part of women’s health and reproductive health includes access to abortion, that I believe should be safe, legal, and rare. I’ve spent a lot of my time trying to bring down the rate of abortions and it has been my experience that good family planning and good medical care brings down the rate of abortion. Keeping women and men in ignorance and denied the access to services actually increases the rate of abortion.”
It’s time to deconstruct:
Hillary mentions women fighting for their lives following botched abortions. Her implication is that because abortions are restricted, or illegal, these women are forced to resort to unsafe methods of termination, which often leads to injury, and death. This comment leads me to ask one central question: Why do these women need to terminate their children? That question leads to several follow up questions. Did they become pregnant by accident? Were they raped? Is the method by which they were impregnated the reason they supposedly need an abortion? If the method by which they were impregnated is the reason they no longer want a child, I’d like to ask one more question: Will ending the life of your child make you forget what happened? Will birthing their torn apart carcass at five months make you feel less awful than waiting nine months, birthing them alive, and giving the child up for adoption?
If you conceived a child by accident (broken condom, etc), what do you believe makes you the arbiter of their life? The child was created by accident, but that cannot be changed at this point. If you believe that you have the ultimate say over whether or not you terminate the pregnancy, which leads me to make one of two conclusions:
- One, you don’t believe that the thing inside you is human, and therefore, it doesn’t deserve human rights. It’s like removing a mole.
- Two, you believe that it is human, but you place your physical, and emotional comfort above their life.
Hillary then mentions Asian countries, saying: “I have been in Asian countries where the denial of family planning consigns women to lives of oppression and hardship.” With this argument, Hillary is changing the conversation from abortion to contraception. However, she is being deliberately oblique, so as to subtly tie pro-life laws to anti-contraception laws. These issues are very different animals, and it speaks to a lack of integrity, or perhaps a lack of understanding on the part of Hillary that she is linking these two very different ideas. However, what she fails to mention is that in countries like China, many women are forced to abort their daughters because of strict population limits. In situations such as these, abortion is no longer a woman’s “choice,” but a state-imposed regulation. The mention of Asian countries has no bearing on her argument, other than to link two very different philosophies in order to make pro-life laws seem even worse to her audience.
Hillary then mentions underage pregnancies in Africa: “I’ve been in African countries where 12 and 13 year old girls are bearing children.” Once again, rather than address the issue at hand, Hillary changes the conversation. The question shouldn’t be “Why can’t these girls get abortions?” but “Who is getting these young girls pregnant?” The root problem with this particular situation is not underage pregnancies, but rape, and coercion. The focus shouldn’t be on terminating an innocent child, whose conception was not its own fault, but on stopping men from abusing young girls.
Next, Hillary makes yet another peculiar connection, saying: “…it has been my experience that good family planning and good medical care brings down the rate of abortion. Keeping women and men in ignorance and denied the access to services actually increases the rate of abortion.” Wait…planning reduces abortions?! That’s crazy! Telling women that their fetus has a heartbeat, and showing her an ultrasound doesn’t seem like ignorance to me. Keeping someone in Ignorance implies a withholding of knowledge. Informing a woman of the science of her pregnancy seems to me to be the opposite of withholding information. Hillary wants to make her audience believe that “family planning” and abortion are inextricably linked, that one cannot exist without the other. That is a straw man argument, and it is false. One can plan well, and avoid a pregnancy while abortion remains illegal.
Finally, I need to mention Hillary’s classic “safe, legal, and rare” argument. She brings it up once again in her response. The implication behind the desire to keep abortion “rare” is that there is some kind of moral consequence to the procedure. If Hillary wants to keep abortion rare, she must believe that some kind of moral consequence results from the procedure; she must believe that the entity inside of a pregnant woman is human. However, if she believes that it is human, does she also believe that a pregnant woman’s human rights supersede her child’s human rights? How does she weigh whose life has more intrinsic value? Some proponents of abortion will respond to that question by asserting that life experience is what gives one life more weight over another. Because a fetus has no life experience, it has less value than a fully grown woman, who has much life experience. However, that argument suggests that age determines value. If that’s the case, a 30 year-old is less valuable than a 60 year-old. And if someone can terminate another human because they have less life experience, and are therefore less valuable, why can’t a 60 year-old terminate a 30 year-old? Additionally, if she does believe that a child in utero is human, and therefore has human rights, how can she ever sanction its termination? Do these rules apply elsewhere? If someone with human rights can be deemed worth killing, where is the line drawn? And who is the decider of life value?
Hillary Clinton makes many interesting points in her response. Unfortunately, they all lead to questions that undermine her entire viewpoint. All I want is for people who would support Hillary to take her opinions to their logical ends. Ask why. In my experience, asking why can tell you a lot about the character of a person.