Hillary Clinton must have uncorked a bottle of champagne when she heard what Donald Trump had to say about abortion last week. Clinton, who has been struggling to fight back against Bernie Sanders’ narrative painting her as a slave to Wall Street, has shown signs of wanting to leave this primary season behind. She’s ready to take on Trump. She’s ready to stop being seen as an obstacle to change. So when Trump told Chris Matthews that women, hypothetically, should be punished for having an illegal abortion, Clinton jumped at the chance to attack.
But in doing so, she managed to step into her own controversy, proving how difficult it can be to make anyone happy on this issue. Asked by Chuck Todd if the Bill of Rights applied to the unborn, Clinton said it did not.
“The unborn person doesn’t have constitutional rights,” she said. “Now that doesn’t mean that we don’t do everything we possibly can in the vast majority of instances to, you know, help a mother who is carrying a child and wants to make sure that child will be healthy, to have appropriate medical support.”
Clinton, while clearly wanting to get into as few specifics as possible, also said there was room for “reasonable kind of restrictions” on the procedure in the third trimester.
Well, just as pro-life activists criticized Trump for his (original) position on the topic, pro-abortion groups felt that Clinton was off-message in the interview.
“She calls a fetus an unborn child and calls for later term restrictions,” complained Diana Arellano of Planned Parenthood Illinois. Arellano said that comments like Clinton’s served to “further stigmatize” abortion.
Clinton’s terminology also made waves in conservative circles. At the Weekly Standard, Shosanna Weissman expressed surprise at her wording. “Most notable perhaps is Clinton’s use of ‘person,'” Weissman wrote. “Oftentimes, when talking about a woman’s right to choose, pro-choicers will use terminology that suggests the unborn is not a person or human, but a ‘fetus.'”
But if anyone thinks that Clinton is anything less than an extremist on abortion, a quick look at earlier comments should be enough to disavow that notion. At Drake University last year, she had the audacity to refer to abortion as a “fundamental human right.” She has expressed doubt that an unborn baby can feel pain by the 20-week point. She not only supports federal funding for Planned Parenthood, she wants to eliminate the Hyde Amendment, which bans taxpayer money from funding abortions through entitlements.
Most telling, perhaps, are remarks she made in August 2015:
“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 from Republicans who want to be the president of the United States.”
In Hillary Clinton’s world, a pro-life position is akin to the views expressed by ISIS.
Trump’s gaffe on abortion (and his painful attempt to clarify that position since) cannot be excused. But when you look at the difference in how the media covers his comments compared to how they cover Clinton’s…well, the bias is obvious.