Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton on abortion: Putting pertinent issues back in focus
While this election was high-jacked by personality driven drama and flaws — Donald Trump's bad behaviour with women in the past, his arrogance, his racism, tax evasion, Clinton's corruption and over the top 'hawkish' reputation as a former Secretary of State, Thursday morning's debate (Wednesday night, Las Vegas time) steered the election towards the issues, especially abortion.
Let's get somethings out of the way.
Hillary Clinton is not the ideal candidate for the post of the President of United States of America. This has nothing to do with her gender, it has everything to do with her poor judgment with reference to Benghazi and using her family email server to conduct official White House communications.
That said, right now, Hillary Clinton is the best choice (considering the main alternative is Donald Trump) for the post of the President of United States of America. She is the kind of leader of the free world who thinks that lesbians, gay, bisexuals and basically persons of any sexual orientation should be treated as equals under the law. She is also the kind of leader of the free world who thinks that women should have autonomy over their bodies.
The right to make intimate personal decisions about terminating a pregnancy, even in a supposedly free country — the West — still comes under fire and abortion is 'almost illegal' in many states in the US. Idaho, Iowa, Utah, Louisiana, Kansas, Virginia, Missisippi, Indiana, Ohio and South Dakota to name a few. Anti-choice activists calls for arrests of abortion providers, women who seek abortions. A woman paid a man $150 to hit her in the stomach in Salt Lake City, Utah because she couldn't get a doctor to terminate her pregnancy. In Poland, women protested the ban on abortions and succeeded. Lawmakers said they learnt lessons in humility. Though, now a majority of women live in countries where they can get access to abortions for economic, social and personal reasons, of the approximately 50 million abortions carried out every year in the world, estimates place the number performed illegally at 40 percent.
This is not a free world.
This is certainly not a free world for women.
Over the course of three presidential debates and one vice-presidential debate, the pertinent issue of abortion was barely touched upon.
It was properly articulated in the vice-presidential debate when Tim Kaine and Mike Pence were asked to talk about abortion.
"Why doesn’t Donald Trump trust women to make this choice for themselves? That’s what we ought to be doing in public life: living our lives of faith or motivation with enthusiasm and excitement, convincing each other, dialoguing with each other about important moral issues of the day. But on fundamental issues of morality, we should let women make their own decisions.” (Tim Kaine)
"A society can be judged by how it deals with its most vulnerable: The aged, the infirm, the disabled and the unborn... I believe it with all my heart, and I could not be more proud to be standing with a pro-life candidate in Donald Trump." (Mike Pence)
While this election was high-jacked by personality driven drama and flaws — Donald Trump's bad behaviour with women in the past, his arrogance, his racism, tax evasion, Clinton's corruption and over the top 'hawkish' reputation as a former Secretary of State, Thursday morning's debate (Wednesday night, Las Vegas time) steered the election towards the issues, especially abortion. And to hear Donald Trump say:
"I think it's terrible if you go with what Hillary is saying in the ninth month you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb of the mother just prior to the birth of the baby. Now, you can say that that's okay, and Hillary can say that that's okay, but it's not okay with me. Because based on what she's saying and based on where she's going and where she's been, you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb in the ninth month, only the final day. And that's not acceptable."
(As you hear this, you recover from a full 10 minutes of cringing and wondering if he even knows anything about abortion and then you realise that it's an ignorant man-child who is talking about life's phenomenon that he has little to no inkling about; you laugh all the way from your uterus for a good ten minutes.)
The problem is that these issues are often sidelined as 'women's issues', a familiar pain in the neck that is generally ignored.
"Human rights are women's rights, and women's rights are human rights." —Hillary in Beijing, 21 years ago today pic.twitter.com/T46TNfDikW
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) September 5, 2016
But this is where Hillary Clinton grabs the bull by its proverbial and describes something fundamental: Women's rights are human rights.
When Hillary Clinton takes the stand to say:
"I will defend Planned Parenthood. I will defend Roe v. Wade, and I will defend women's rights to make their own health care decisions."
"I do not think the United States government should be stepping in and making those most personal of decisions."
It sets the tone for her own womanhood, to say what she fervently believes and why it is important for the country and why her beliefs make her a better leader. It also sets the tone for the rest of the world, where other rights for women are consistently being crushed on a daily basis. Everywhere in the world, men are in charge of deciding what is good or bad for women. Take triple talaq for instance, all the decisions around it are being made by bodies with little to no representation of women and yet, it is a law that affects women.
According to latest reports, as of today, various state governments passed 57 anti-abortion bills in the US last year and 45 out of the 50 states have provisions where healthcare providers can refuse to participate in abortion procedures, whereas 27 states ask women to compulsorily undergo a waiting period.
If abortion laws matter, it is now, in 2016. Every woman in this entire world should have access to healthcare and control over her reproductive rights, especially in the United States of America which prides itself on being the 'greatest country in the world'.
American exceptionalism cannot leave its women out.