Pro-life “terrorists”? Hillary Clinton’s unbelievable smear, and the GOP’s all-too-believable response

GOP White Surrender FlagJust in case you were clinging to hope that some sliver of Hillary Clinton’s soul was capable of being shamed by revelations that her financially-supportive, award-dispensing pals at Planned Parenthood are running a grotesque fetal chop-shop and very likely killing newborns in the process, think again.

On Thursday, Clinton said the following about pro-lifers:

I would like these Republican candidates to look the mom in the eye who caught her breast cancer early because she was able to get a screening for cancer, or the teenager who didn’t get pregnant because she had access to contraception, or anyone who’s ever been protected by an HIV test. Now, 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, but it’s a little hard to take coming from Republicans who want to be the president of the United States, yet they espouse out-of-date and out-of-touch policies. They are dead wrong for 21st-century America. We’re going forward. We’re not going back.

Terrorist groups. Wanting to prohibit the literal executions of living human babies is terrorist-like, but openly championing those executions and forcing taxpayers to give the hangmen their money is “modern.”

Tell me, Madam Secretary, if we were to play video of an abortion versus video of some Planned Parenthood budget meeting where they have to decide how to spend their $775 million in private revenue after losing the taxpayer-subsidized cut, which do you suppose would more closely resemble the video of Daniel Pearl’s murder? (Recall that Hillary opposes banning partial-birth abortion, too, so she doesn’t even have the superficial distinctions between early-term abortions and jihadist beheadings to hide behind.)

It’s contemptible enough when deranged bloggers equate opponents of child mass murder with practitioners of child mass murder, but for a former First Lady, Secretary of State, and someone deemed a legitimate leader of the free world by one of our two major political parties to do the same—while unapologetically defending the very sort of violence she’s evoking—is a particular brand of vile unmatched in American politics since the days of Jim Crow.

Clinton’s invocation of all the peripheral health services pro-lifers supposedly threaten is a lie. She fully knew it was a lie as the words were coming out of her mouth. Surely such thin window dressing isn’t enough to deflect the righteous condemnation such foul demagoguery warrants?

Incredibly, the Republican responses so far completely fail to capture the horrendous nature of Clinton’s defamation.

Republican National Committee spokeswoman Allison Moore said simply, “For Hillary Clinton to equate her political opponents to terrorists is a new low for her flailing campaign. She should apologize immediately for her inflammatory rhetoric.” A blanket “calling people terrorists is bad!” rule is all fine and dandy, but the fact that it didn’t occur to the person in charge of national communications for the ostensibly pro-life party to tie it to any pro-life point, let alone a strong one, should raise a red flag.

Jeb Bush at least mentioned that she “defends despicable PP treatment of unborn,” but the best criticism he could muster was that her “priorities are totally wrong.” No, paying your Netflix bill before your water bill is an instance where one’s priorities are “totally wrong.” Defending despicable treatment of children is an instance where one’s priorities and values are monstrous.

Donald Trump answered a question about the comments by taking the opportunity to posture about how much better he’d be than Bush at funding other “women’s health issues,” and that Clinton “doesn’t have a clue,” but totally ignored abortion. Not surprising, given how little Planned Parenthood’s activities seem to bother him.

John Kasich responded, “Ohio and our country deserves better than what Clinton is offering them. Hillary Clinton’s trail of scandal is decades long, and only continues to worsen.” A “response” that completely changes the subject away from what Kasich’s responding to is fully in line with his stated desire for the GOP to focus less on abortion.

If there’s any silver lining, it’s that these are hardly who anyone would peg as the party’s most passionate and eloquent pro-life speakers, and hopefully Ted Cruz, Bobby Jindal, Rick Santorum, Marco Rubio, or Mike Huckabee will take the opportunity to give Clinton a proper rebuke sometime in the next 24 hours.

But the reactions we have so far are indicative of a culture where talking about abortion doesn’t come naturally because it simply isn’t as passionate about the subject as its official line claims to be. If someone truly feels it in their bones that this really is a human rights atrocity, their discussion of it doesn’t sound indistinguishable from how they talk about banking regulations or environmental mandates. They take every mention of it as an opportunity to hammer home how it’s a barbaric artifact of humanity’s worst impulses that should have no place in any post-Enlightenment western democracy.

I understand this may seem pedantic in a way. They say they’re pro-life; they vote the right way. But settling for the default habits of pro-life lawmaking cannot suffice anymore, not with thousands of deaths still happening daily, most abortions still being legal, and the abortion industry exposed as more heartless and more vulnerable than ever.

We need to strive not just for marginal gains of a life here and a health regulation there, but to shift the entire Overton window (the range of views considered mainstream) on abortion. A necessary part of that is to stop treating abortion advocacy as simply another view on another ordinary political issue. The goal with every official party or campaign announcement should be to foster a culture where promoting abortion at all is politically frightening. That Hillary Clinton feels free to be as hypocritically brazen about it as this shows how far we are from that.

Thousands of pro-life activists and writers speak the truth on despicable smears like this every day. And frankly, many of us are getting a little tired of having to be the only ones to say it.

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