This is really at the heart of who Hillary Clinton is, and you can see and hear the passion in her voice when she discusses women’s rights in reaction to Republican attacks on them.
Tonight during the MSNBC town hall with Rachel Maddow, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was asked about Donald Trump’s earlier terrifying comments that he wanted to ban abortion and punish women for getting one. Clinton punched back hard as only someone who truly understands the nature of this attack and what it means for women could do.
Rachel Maddow asked Hillary Clinton about Donald Trump’s comments that he wanted to ban abortion and punish women for getting one, which he later walked back to punishing doctors.
Trump said “there has to be some kind of punishment for a woman seeking an abortion” and he “hadn’t yet determined what kind of punishment”.
Watch here via Hillary Clinton tweet:
We can’t let someone with this much contempt for women’s rights anywhere near the White House.https://t.co/OjU9gRwsxo
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) March 30, 2016
Rachel Maddow read Hillary Clinton’s tweet about this, “’Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse. Horrific and telling.’ What do you mean by that?”
Clinton responded, “What Donald Trump said today was outrageous and dangerous. And you know I am just constantly taken aback by the kinds of things that he advocates for. Maya Angelou said, ‘When someone show you who they are, believe them.’ And once again he has showed us who he is. The idea that he and all of the Republicans espouse that abortion should be illegal is one that is not embraced by the vast majority of Americans. And in fact as he pointed out, if it were illegal, then women and doctors would be criminals.”
“I think not only women, men, but all Americans need to understand that this kind of inflammatory, destructive rhetoric is on the outer edges of what is permitted under our Constitution, what we believe in, and people should reject it.”
“Women in particular must know that this right which we have guaranteed under the Constitution could be taken away, and that’s why the stakes in this election couldn’t be higher.”
Maddow explained that Trump walked it back and then wanted to punish doctors. Clinton made the point that women have the right to their own autonomy. Criminalizing doctors for helping women have medical authority over their own bodies doesn’t make this better.
Maddow said that she spoke with Senator Bernie Sanders, Clinton’s 2016 primary opponent, and that Sanders was critical of Trump’s remark but he also thinks it’s another “Donald Trump stupid” remark that will be covered by the media ad nauseam as opposed to issues like taxes, climate change, minimum wage that might be more deserving of extended attention.
Maddow asked Clinton if she agreed, and Clinton said she doesn’t think the media is making too much of this, “No, absolutely not. I’ve been on the front lines of the fight to preserve a woman’s choice and ability to make these difficult decisions… I’ve been a leader in trying to make sure that our rights as women were not in any way eroded.”
“To think that this is an issue that is not deserving of reaction just demonstrates a lack of appreciation for how serious this is,” Clinton said. “This goes to the heart of who we are as women, what kinds of rights and choices we have, it certainly is as important as any economic issue because when it’s all stripped away so much of the Republican agenda is to turn the clock back on women.”
It is easy for even liberals and progressives to forget that without legal and safe abortion, women die. This is no small issue. This is one of the issues of 2016. It is economic, it is about personal freedom, it is a matter of life and death. Hillary Clinton punches back even when others will not. She sees this issue for what it is.
This is why it matters that women are not represented in government. If there were more women in government, vital issues like this wouldn’t be relegated to the uncool section of debates. This is a matter of protecting women’s rights to be a person, a full citizen. Hillary Clinton is a champion of women. She always has been and she always will be.
And it’s pretty damn cool, precisely because it’s so unusual.
Image: MSNBC live stream
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.