I was born in the early 1970s and have never known a United States without legal abortion. I’ve been lucky to have easy access to birth control and health services like Planned Parenthood. Over the past several years, it’s been scary to watch citizens and politicians find ways to erode women’s reproductive rights — and that’s why women can’t afford not to vote for Hillary Clinton.
Stripping women of their right to choose when and how they have children is intrinsically anti-feminist. Women who don’t have control of their reproductive rights also don’t have control over their education or careers. Having children often puts those pursuits on the back burner, particularly when women don’t have good support systems in place.
Clinton clearly understands this. She’s been a champion of women’s rights and reproductive-health access. As a Senator, she introduced eight pieces of legislation aimed at protecting women’s reproductive rights, and regularly co-sponsored and voted in favor of legislation that would protect women’s health.
She fought for years, ultimately successfully, to pass legislation that made emergency contraception available over the counter — and fought against laws that would define birth control as abortion. She helped launch the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy and worked to restore funding to the United Nations Populations Fund, which addresses reproductive health issues around the world.
Clinton’s record on these issues is so strong that Planned Parenthood has endorsed her — the organization’s first endorsement in a presidential primary in more than 100 years.
“Politicians have no business interfering with women’s personal health decisions. I will oppose efforts to roll back women’s access to reproductive health care, including Republican efforts to defund Planned Parenthood. As president, I’ll stand up for Planned Parenthood and women’s access to critical health services, including safe, legal abortion,” Clinton said in January.
When I say Clinton gets it, she really gets it. During a presidential debate in April, Clinton called out CNN for ignoring the issue entirely. “We’ve not had one question about a woman’s right to make her own decisions about reproductive health care,” Clinton said, adding that the issue “goes to the heart of who we are as women, our rights, our autonomy, our ability to make our own decisions, and we need to be talking about that.”
Donald Trump, on the other hand, is campaigning as an anti-abortion candidate. He wasn’t always pro-life (he wasn’t even always pro-life this year); he skipped out on a dinner in 1989 because he was being threatened by anti-abortion activists, and a decade later he described himself as “very pro-choice,” even supporting late-term abortions. But sometime before 2015, he switched camps, saying that he was inspired by a friend’s choice not to have an abortion:
“Friends of mine years ago were going to have a child, and it was going to be aborted. And it wasn’t aborted. And that child today is a total superstar, a great, great child.”
Obviously you can be glad any time a child is born and still be pro-choice, but that isn’t the approach Trump is currently taking. During a debate in Houston, he said, “As far as Planned Parenthood is concerned, I’m pro-life.” It’s actually difficult to tell, at times, whether he’s anti-abortion or specifically anti-Planned Parenthood; when he called in to The View last fall, he claimed, “I am against abortion… and that is a tremendous amount of the work [Planned Parenthood does].” Which, if you call 3 percent “tremendous,” I guess is accurate:
He also wrote, “Public funding of abortion providers is an insult to people of conscience at the least and an affront to good governance at best.” So the government has funded men’s prescriptions to Viagra — and I am not denying them the right to it — but funding abortion providers is an “affront to good governance?” When women’s and girls’ livelihoods (and sometimes their lives) are at stake? Hoo boy.
I have a daughter who’s going to enter puberty around the end of the next presidential term, and I want her to have at least the same reproductive rights throughout her fertile years that I’ve had during mine. I want that for all uterus-having people in this country. Whatever he may believe privately, Trump has said publicly he wants to control women’s reproductive rights. For anyone who supports the future equality of women and girls, Clinton is the only reasonable choice.