On Thursday, Planned Parenthood came out in support of Democratic frontrunner and Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for president — the organization's first-ever endorsement in a presidential primary over their 100-year existence, according to the New York Times. That's a pretty big deal, so now people are wondering just what is Hillary Clinton's voting record on abortion? Is she really aligned with Planned Parenthood's core beliefs? Though she is definitely pro-choice, her views haven't always been super clear-cut.
The Times reported that Clinton will officially accept the endorsement at a campaign rally in New Hampshire on Sunday. In a statement on Thursday, Clinton said that she was "honored" by the endorsement, and that she would "defend against attacks on reproductive health care, and protect access to affordable contraception and safe and legal abortion across the country," according to the Times. CBS News reported that Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards has been a Clinton supporter for some time now: "There has never been a presidential candidate with as strong a commitment to women's health and rights as @HillaryClinton. #Historic," she tweeted last April.
In August of 2015, Clinton came out in support of Planned Parenthood as the organization faced baseless accusations of "selling baby parts" after a series of fraudulently-edited, undercover videos made the rounds online. "I'm proud to stand with Planned Parenthood. I'll never stop fighting to protect the ability and right of every woman in this country to make her own health decisions," she said in a video, according to Politico.
According to On the Issues, in March 2003, Clinton voted against a ban on so-called "partial-birth abortions" (a medically incorrect and wildly prejudicial term). In March 2004, Clinton voted against a bill that would make it a crime to harm a fetus while committing another crime. She also voted against a bill that would prohibit minors from procuring abortions out of state in order to circumvent local parental consent laws in July of 2006, and voted against providing funding to prevent minors from traveling against state lines to procure abortions in March of 2008.
Clinton also sponsored a bill in May 2006 to provide contraception to low-income women through Medicaid, another bill to provide emergency contraception to rape victims in September of that same year, and yet another bill to provide emergency contraception at military facilities in April of 2007.
But, when asked if she believes that life begins at conception in 2008, Clinton hedged that the believes "the potential for life begins at conception," possibly in an attempt to make everyone happy, according to On The Issues. Unfortunately, that's impossible, so some pro-choice people took that as a sign that she agreed with the anti-choice rallying cry. But squint your eyes and tilt your head slightly, and you'll see that it really means nothing at all. The potential for dinner begins in my oven, but it doesn't mean there's a casserole in there.
Another area where Clinton gets a little shady is her continued assertion that abortion should be "legal, safe, and rare," which some may infer as being a condemnation of abortion. Of course, nobody is getting abortions just for fun. Ideally, abortions should be rare, not because they're wrong in any way, but because contraception is preferable to abortion, if for no other reason than convenience and cost. Contraception should be available, affordable, and effective. Of course, that takes a lot longer to say than "legal, safe, and rare," but it's an important distinction, and I'm hoping she clears that up soon.
Planned Parenthood wouldn't endorse a candidate if they weren't clearly in support of women getting abortions whenever they believe it's best for them, but Clinton's vague — sometimes slightly shaming — language about abortion in the past is, hopefully, something she's moved away from entirely.
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