Wait, does Bill Clinton oppose late-term abortion?
I think Sean Davis is right that this is the better lede from the Free Beacon’s story about Clinton casually accusing Rick Santorum’s wife of secretly aborting a child who died in infancy. Which is not to say that this’ll be difficult for the Clintons to spin.
Twenty years ago, a centrist Democrat from the south wasn’t the sort of drooling “it’s not alive until it’s left the hospital” abortion fanatic that modern Democrats routinely are? Do tell.
Clinton’s comments about Santorum came during a discussion with Branch on partial-birth abortion, in which he complained that the insensitivity of the pro-choice movement made “a statesman out of Rick Santorum.”
Clinton said that pro-choice activists “framed the question selfishly by putting it in terms of a woman’s right to do whatever she wanted,” making it seem like they were fighting for a “selfish woman’s right to crush her baby’s skull.”…
“I believe that if you can’t make up your mind in the first six months, you don’t have the right to have an abortion,” Clinton said according to Branch.
“He said the pro-choice people have essentially allowed their own insensitivities to push them into a losing political situation and make a statesman out of Rick Santorum, which he rolled his eyes at,” said Branch.
He (supposedly) said that in 1997, but as usual, Clinton’s got a good sense of where the wider public stands. WaPo polled Americans in 2013 and asked them what sort of time limit the law should impose on legal abortions. Supreme Court jurisprudence makes abortion legal for six months, or 24 weeks; some state laws cut that back to 20 weeks. Which time frame do Americans prefer? WaPo found 56 percent overall preferred the more restrictive window of 20 weeks, even when given the option of 24 weeks in the question. But what about Democrats? Ahem:
The Democratic Party is top-heavy on this subject, with the leadership full of extremists and the great mass of voters willing to accept limits. And Clinton stated the reason why succinctly: If you can’t make up your mind in six months (or five months, per the poll), why should an otherwise viable child suffer for it?
But as I say, this is easily spun. Hillary 2016 is already well practiced at claiming the Clintons have seen the error of their ways since Bill’s time in office on all sorts of things that now matter to progressives. Bill Clinton signed DOMA into law, then called for it to be overturned two years ago before the Supreme Court took up the matter. He and Hillary have since taken to lying to gay activists by claiming that he only ever signed it in the first place because Republicans were threatening to pass a federal marriage amendment instead. Another example is the 1994 crime bill, which ended up putting many Americans — black Americans especially — in prison for longer sentences. The Black Lives Matter noticed; Bill Clinton duly expressed his regrets about the bill this past summer. The only question about the inevitable walkback of his late-term abortion comments in 1997 is whether he’ll deny outright having said it or whether he’ll claim to have belatedly seen the progressive light after leaving office on this issue too, having since been carefully educated by feminists that it’s not really a “baby” until the head and feet have exited the mother’s body.
Although, now that I think about it, maybe a walkback isn’t called for here. The First! Woman! President! has already loudly and proudly endorsed late-term abortions; having Bill quietly side with the 51 percent of Democrats who are uncomfortable with that might be a nice bit of triangulation for them. Would progressives tolerate it, though? Abortion on demand at any stage of pregnancy is central to their religion. How can they make Hillary Clinton their leader if she’s married to a heretic, a man who’s enabling the religious right by sharing a small amount of common ground with them? As Davis says, Planned Parenthood would have you believe that pro-life sentiment is a form of domestic terrorism. How can we have a president who associates with terrorists? Or rather, another president, I mean.