Clinton’s Only Consistency: Ghastliness on Abortion


Ramesh Ponnuru:

During the Obama years, liberalism became more aggressive in its support of abortion. Hillary Clinton’s campaign reflects this new attitude. If she is elected, her administration is likely to reach a new extreme in the depth of its commitment to keeping abortion legal, expanding subsidies for it, and insulating these policies from democratic review.

The first two Democratic presidents elected after Roe v. Wade took pains to project ambivalence about abortion. Jimmy Carter opposed a constitutional amendment to reverse the decision but said he wanted to minimize the number of abortions and opposed federal funding of them. Bill Clinton said that abortion should be “safe, legal, and rare.” The phrase became part of the Democratic platform.

After John Kerry lost the 2004 election to George W. Bush, many Democrats, including Kerry himself, blamed the loss in part on the perception that their party was too identified with abortion. Democrats sought to change that perception. They recruited pro-life candidates to run for Congress in relatively conservative districts. In many cases, they changed their rhetoric. Howard Dean, then the party chairman, was no moderate: He opposed even requiring parental notification for minors’ getting abortions. But after the election he avoided using the term “pro-choice” — a term that had itself been adopted earlier to downplay abortion.

Like Dean, Hillary Clinton was in sync with the abortion lobby. As a senator she stuck with the party line on keeping partial-birth abortion legal even as many Democrats deserted it. Other Democrats voted for federal law to treat assaults on pregnant women as having two victims; not she. Clinton co-sponsored legislation to sweep away those state restrictions on abortion that the federal courts had left in place.

But also like Dean, Clinton saw the advantages of rhetorical moderation. In 2005, she gave a speech calling abortion “a sad, even tragic choice” and said that both sides of the abortion debate should work together to reduce the number of abortions. She did not give an inch on policy, and even in that speech implicitly compared pro-lifers to the Communist dictators of China: Supposedly, using the law to forbid abortion, as in pre-1973 America, is just like using the law to mandate it. But the news coverage emphasized Clinton’s search for common ground.

That kind of defensiveness has largely disappeared among Democrats, as it has from Clinton. The Democratic platform has not said since 2004 that abortion should be rare. The 2016 platform says its availability is a matter of “justice.” The platform had for years said that abortion should be available regardless of ability to pay; now it includes an explicit call to repeal the Hyde amendment, a budget provision in place since the late 1970s that keeps federal Medicaid funds from paying for abortions except in the cases of rape, incest, and threats to the mother’s life.

Clinton has herself said that Hyde should go. A right is “no right at all,” she says, if the government does not enable you to exercise it. (No word on whether people having a hard time buying guns will get Second Amendment subsidies.) In 1994, Clinton strongly supported health-care legislation that included robust protections for abortion opponents: Employers who objected to “abortion or other services” for moral reasons were not to be required to include it in their health coverage. Now Clinton, together with most of her party, condemns the idea that employers should be allowed to “impose their religious beliefs on their employees” through their coverage decisions.

Her Supreme Court appointees, she says, would continue to read the Constitution as protecting abortion: That’s just one of the commitments she would be looking for. “I have a bunch of litmus tests,” she says forthrightly.

Clinton opposes a ban on abortions even after the 20th week of pregnancy — as does her running mate, Virginia senator Tim Kaine, who says he is personally against abortion. Like President Obama, Clinton occasionally and vaguely suggests that she would support a ban on very late-term abortions. It is a smaller concession than it appears. She says that any ban would have to exempt abortions done for health reasons. “Health” having been defined very expansively by the Supreme Court to include emotional health, it is not clear what such a ban would actually prohibit.

Clinton’s search for common ground seems also to have ended. Last August she said that pro-life politicians had “extreme views about women”: “We expect that from some of the terrorist groups, we expect that from people who don’t want to live in the modern world.”

The Democrats’ left turn on abortion is different from the one they made on same-sex marriage. On the latter issue, the public at large changed its opinion and Democrats moved with it. The public has not, however, become more pro-abortion. Ten years ago, Gallup found that 54 percent of Americans believed that abortion should be legal under few or no circumstances, while 43 percent believed it should be legal under all or most circumstances. This year the numbers were 56 and 41: essentially identical. Ten years ago, Gallup found that 51 percent of Americans considered themselves “pro-choice” and 41 percent “pro-life.” Its May survey had a tiny 47–46 percent advantage for the pro-choicers.

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You’re correct.
Most of Hillary’s history is one of flip-flops.
Usually well-compensated for flip flops.
Hillary Clinton In 2003: ‘I Am, You Know, Adamantly Against Illegal Immigrants’
Not anymore!
Hillary opposed gay marriage until 2013.
Hillary endorsed TPP until 2015.
Hillary supported the Keystone Pipeline until 2015.
Hillary used to support the Cuban embargo, too.
She voted several times for the anti-teachers’ union ”No Child Left Behind,” bill until 2015 when she says she supports the union against No Child Left Behind!

Now, what happened in 2015?
Oh, yeah, she started getting ready to run.

This one was simple self-interest:
3/3/15 Hillary Violated Federal Rules–Used Personal Email As Secretary of State
2007 Hillary Slammed Bush WH For Using Private Emails

It makes absolutely no sense to be aborting babies while others of the same gestational age are being saved at Neonatal Intensive Care Units.

The Democrats are all about handing out free stuff at the expense of others and abortion is an extension of that. Abortion absolves one of irresponsible sex and consequences. The taxpayers should pay, n their opinion, but innocent lives are the ultimate victims.