Someone sent me this. It’s old, so I’m not sure why/how the blogosphere called this up just now.
Have a watch. It’s Hillary Clinton responding to a pro-lifers question about whether “reproductive rights” include abortion abroad.
Here’s what I see in her reply:
She starts with personal anecdotes. I would do that too. My stories would be different, but they are no less gut wrenching. I’ll spare you the details here, but suffice to say, I know post-abortive women who have cried on the floor in the fetal position because they feel the loss of their child so acutely. It’s not exactly the picture of empowerment.
She moves into some very contested territory. The facts: Good medical care reduces maternal mortality, regardless of whether abortion is legal or not. But what she says is that good medical care and access to abortion decrease abortion rates. Which is false in her country and ours too. Abortion rates went up upon legalizing. They’ve remained incredibly high ever since. We might see some fiddling at the edges. By that, I mean a slight decline or a slight rise. At this point we don’t know here in Canada because we stopped keeping accurate abortion statistics. But the legal environment both here and in the United States has kept abortion anything but rare.
That’s the falsehood of her assertion (a more reasonable position than many) that abortion be safe, legal and rare. It is not safe in her country: Women die in abortions. It is legal. It is not at all rare.
So. Spare me the pain of saying that this is some bold statement in favour of women’s rights.
As a final note, I will thank Hillary Clinton for being reasonable, since she at very least pretends to want abortion to be rare, which is not what a lot of her sisters in the movement would say. I’ll never forget a woman at a pro-choice conference at University of Toronto law school asking why on earth a woman couldn’t ask for a third trimester abortion for social reasons. The people on the podium appeared uncomfortable… but hey–those are their supporters. Some of their people absorbed the message of “my body, my choice” and are willing to apply it to any point of pregnancy for any reason. It’s consistent, and pro-choicers must be held accountable for that.by