‘Safe, legal, and rare’ mantra traps Hillary Clinton between a rock and a crazy place

Hillary ClintonDNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz isn’t the only abortion absolutist in the Democrats’ top ranks. On April 10, the Weekly Standard’s John McCormack reported that newly-official presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is less than forthcoming about the specifics of her own pro-choice advocacy:

So would Secretary Clinton support any federal law restricting late-term abortion? If so, how many weeks old must an unborn child be for the law to protect her? Must any restriction on late-term abortion include a “mental and emotional” health exception? And does Clinton still support taxpayer-funded elective abortions for Medicaid recipients?

THE WEEKLY STANDARD emailed Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill to get answers to these questions on Wednesday afternoon. But 48 hours later, Clinton’s spokesman, who has responded to questions from TWS in the past, still has not replied.

Don’t expect one. McCormack notes that Clinton has given lip service to moderation in the past—when first running for Senate, she claimed, “I can support a ban on late-term abortions, including partial-birth abortions, so long as the health and life of the mother is protected.”

Of course, “health” is one of the most insidious words in the pro-abortion lexicon. While sounding mild and unobjectionable to the uninitiated, the context of Doe v. Bolton defines it as any “physical, emotional, psychological, (and) familial” impact. Translation: Hillary would support a “ban” on late-term abortion so long as it never actually worked.

Accordingly, once she made it into the Senate, she never backed up her talk with action. During her eight years in office, not once did Clinton ever cast a single vote that ran counter to the abortion at-any-time-for-any-reason demands of Planned Parenthood or NARAL. That includes her votes against the federal ban on partial-birth abortion, which is never medically necessary, and against the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, which doesn’t even affect abortion at all and is strictly to help crime victims get justice for wanted children. And as Steven Ertelt notes, she’s also heaped praise on Margaret Sanger, and as Secretary of State, pushed for the United Nations to formally affirm “reproductive rights” at the Rio+20 conference.

So by any objective review of her record, it’s inconceivable that Clinton would sign a late-term abortion ban into law…which makes it all the more insane that some pro-abortion radicals actually fret that she isn’t pro-abortion enough. Why? Because she gives lip service to the old “safe, legal, and rare” cliché. Here’s Jessica Valenti:

You’ve been a longtime supporter of pro-choice policies, but the framework you often use is that abortions should be ‘safe, legal and rare.’ But by saying abortion should be rare, the implication is that there’s something morally wrong with the procedure or that the goal should be eradicating the need for abortion. Can you defend your use of the word ‘rare’ beyond the political rhetoric, and talk about how we can end the stigma against a medical procedure that one-third of all American women will have? [No they won’t – CF]

[…] let’s not bolster anti-choice rhetoric and activism by calling for them to be “rare” – especially since there are so many working to ensure that “rare” is an enforced standard, not just a talking point.

Valenti is correct insofar as rhetoric about wanting abortion to be rare inadvertently suggests that abortion is something less positive than the sunshine and rainbows the activist class tries to wrap it in. But what she either fails or refuses to see is that the public simply refuses to buy that abortion is a positive good.

Polling fluctuates due to widespread confusion about everything from the specifics of embryology to what Roe v. Wade actually says, but through it all abortion supporters simply haven’t been able to get more than half the country to embrace the pro-abortion premise—nor can they get so much as a third to agree with them that abortion is acceptable at any stage of pregnancy, or for any reason.

Clinton at least has been doing this long enough to know she has to lie about what she really believes if she has any hope of getting elected. One imagines that if she and Valenti were to meet, Clinton might channel the immortal words of former Pennsylvania Congressman Peter Kostmayer: “Just shut up, gays, women, environmentalists. Just shut up, and you will get everything you want after the election. In the meantime, just shut up so we can win.”

Then again, the moral indignation and insatiable greed that drive them to claw for the freedom to abort whomever they want, wherever they want, and force everyone else to pay for, participate in, and shut up about it, does not play well with the focus-grouped, pragmatic marketing of national campaigns. So whether the abortion lobby is capable of shutting up is another story.

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