A Reason to Vote for Clinton: Reproductive Rights

Hillary Clinton

I’d been working on a piece about reasons to vote for Clinton, but it was becoming huge and unmanageable. So I’m breaking it down into bite-sized morsels.

Here’s a reason to vote for Clinton: reproductive rights. Clinton isn’t just more pro-choice than Trump. She’s more pro-choice than any major-party Presidential nominee in decades. She’s pushing to stop Republicans from defunding Planned Parenthood. She’s said she wants Planned Parenthood to get more funding. She understands the role that income and poverty play in this issue, saying that “low-income women deserve health care” and “a right without the opportunity to exercise it isn’t a right.” Very importantly, she’s pushing for repeal of the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funding for abortions — something she did without being prompted, and something no other major-party Presidential nominee has done since the amendment was enacted.

And she hasn’t been shy about any of this. Her record on reproductive rights has been well-established for years, it’s full-throated, and it’s front and center in her campaign. Planned Parenthood Action Fund President Cecile Richards even spoke at the Democratic National Convention. (Here’s a run-down of Clinton’s positions and record on reproductive rights.)

Trump, on the other hand, wants to ban abortion, with the only exceptions being rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother. (An ethically incoherent position, btw, which makes it clear that banning abortion is about punishing women for sex, not about saving human lives — would it be okay to kill a two-year-old child that was the product of rape or incest?) He opposes Federal funding of Planned Parenthood, to the point where he supported shutting down the government to keep it from happening. He’s said women who get abortions should be punished. And very importantly, he’s pledged to nominate anti-choices justices to the Supreme Court. NARAL has said that “A Trump presidency would be a disaster for women.”

There is a difference.

If you don’t know whether you’re registered to vote, here’s a site that will tell you. If you aren’t registered to vote, here’s a list of voter registration deadlines in different states and territories, with easy links taking you where you need to go to register. Register, and vote.

(Comment policy: In addition to my regular comment policy, I’m going to ask people to keep comments narrowly focused on this issue. This is not a platform to discuss everything else you do or don’t like about Clinton or Trump. Thanks.)

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A Reason to Vote for Clinton: Reproductive Rights

7 thoughts on “A Reason to Vote for Clinton: Reproductive Rights

  1. 1

    clinton in the WH could make a world of difference for the next generation’s RR when she nominates at least 3 upstanding justices who support human rights.

    healthcare has always been a passion of hers.

    it would be nice to see her be able to do as your POTUS that she wasn’t able to as FLOTUS.

  2. 2

    “would it be okay to kill a two-year-old child that was the product of rape or incest?”

    This part annoys me a bit, because it seems to invite a comparison between the abortion of an embryo (or even a fetus), with the murder of a born, conscious, two-year-old child. This is a false equivalence, close to what is often used by “Pro-life” supporters to make ANY abortion seem atrocious.

    Other than that, great article.

  3. 3

    it seems to invite a comparison between the abortion of an embryo (or even a fetus), with the murder of a born, conscious, two-year-old child.

    Estel-Lia @ #2: Yes. That’s my point. Many anti-choicers say that an embryo or fetus is a fully human life — but support exceptions in anti-abortion laws in the case of rape or incest. That is an ethically incoherent position. If an embryo or fetus is every bit as much a human being as a two-year-old child, why is it okay to abort them if they were conceived non-consensually, but not not okay if they were conceived consensually? They wouldn’t say that about a two-year-old child. This makes it clear that anti-abortion laws aren’t about protecting life — they’re about punishing women for sex.

    For the record, I am in agreement with Judith Jarvis Thompon’s seminal essay on abortion: Even if you accept that an embryo or fetus is a fully human life, abortion should still be legal. We can’t force people to donate their organs.

  4. 4

    “Many anti-choicers say that an embryo or fetus is a fully human life — but support exceptions in anti-abortion laws in the case of rape or incest. That is an ethically incoherent position. If an embryo or fetus is every bit as much a human being as a two-year-old child, why is it okay to abort them if they were conceived non-consensually, but not not okay if they were conceived consensually? They wouldn’t say that about a two-year-old child.”

    I’m surprised that this argument is not more common. It has always been obvious to me that this position is morally incoherent.

    By the same token, the “pro-choice” crowd should not decry those who do not support exceptions as “even worse”. One can disagree with their position, sure, but it is at least morally coherent. With such people, it is more credible that their main issue is right to life. (Again, one can oppose this position, but it is not illogical.)

    ” This makes it clear that anti-abortion laws aren’t about protecting life — they’re about punishing women for sex.”

    That is probably the motivation behind most anti-abortion laws, especially considering that those who support them are usually against contraception to a greater or lesser degree.

    On a related note, sometimes the embryo dies of its own accord. Sometimes, this is not even noticed, or the connection between a late menstrual period and the spontaneous abortion is overlooked. In such cases, is there ever a funeral for the dead embryo? If people really believe that an embryo is as much a human as a 2-year-old child, then there should be, and if there is not, then there is hypocrisy.

    While I’m at it, can we find better terms than “pro choice” and “pro life”? “Pro choice” implies that the other camp is anti-choice. At least in some cases, that is not their motivation. Rather, it is the issue of whether the embryo is human. Most pro-choicers would not argue that pro choice implies that 2-year-old children can be killed for the same reasons one would perform an abortion. (At least one does, however. At the (now defunct?) Choice in Dying blog (where I usually agree with most of the things the author says) there was a discussion related to this, mentioning infanticide on Tahiti (apparently a form of “birth control”) and so on, in which the blog owner actually did argue that a woman should be able to kill her children for the same reasons she should be allowed an abortion, pointing out that unless one believes that something magic happens at birth, drawing the line at birth (or, arguably, anywhere else) is illogical. Most would probably see this as an argument against abortion and not for allowing infanticide for as long as the child is dependent on the mother.) Again, one can disagree with their position, but there is little point in claiming that their motivation is something other than they say it is, at least where no hypocrisy is involved. Similarly, “pro life” implies that the other camp is anti-life, which is not the case. Usually, the belief is that the embryo is not as human as a child, or an adult, at least during the first part of pregnancy. (The “seminal essay” grants, probably as a rhetorical ploy, the fact that the embryo is human, but most pro-choice people probably don’t take that view.)

    I think the lack-of-funeral argument implies that most people (in both camps) don’t regard the embryo as fully human, at least during the first part of pregnancy. Thus, abortion is not murder and should be allowed, at least during the early stages of pregnancy—aborting a child which could survive, perhaps even without technical help, as a premature baby is another matter. (Exceptions for the life of the mother are a red herring here, no more problematic than the police killing someone to prevent him from killing others.)

    In practice, of course, late-term abortions are rare.

  5. 5

    Clinton’s opinions on these issues are fairly complex:
    http://www.ontheissues.org/2016/Hillary_Clinton_Abortion.htm
    although her voting record seems more liberal than her statements on this.

    It appears that her pro-choice stance derives more from an anti-statist ideology rather than a feminist belief in bodily autonomy. Clinton has also stated that you can ‘be both feminist and pro-life’. She has also picked a VP who is personally opposed to abortion.

  6. 6

    To Greta #3:
    “This makes it clear that anti-abortion laws aren’t about protecting life — they’re about punishing women for sex.”

    That is so true!! Why such resistance to contraceptives? After all contraceptives would prevent the necessity of having an abortion. The whole transparent argument is really about the “Original Sin” and the “virgin” Mary giving birth. How stupid and ridiculous. To the religious right, especially for women, sex is satanic. That argument borders on insanity.

  7. 7

    It appears that her pro-choice stance derives more from an anti-statist ideology rather than a feminist belief in bodily autonomy. Clinton has also stated that you can ‘be both feminist and pro-life’. She has also picked a VP who is personally opposed to abortion.

    Gerard O @ #5: I care almost not at all about why politicians take the stands they do (unless they’re taking those stands because they’ve been bribed). I care about what they do. I care about them walking the walk. And Clinton has been walking this walk fiercely, and for a long time.

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