Of course, she did. This is how ridiculous politics has become in 2019. Democrat presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren celebrated her birthday on the campaign trail in South Carolina by participating in a Planned Parenthood Action Fund forum. Nothing celebrates life more than courting the nation’s largest abortion provider.
The Planned Parenthood Action Fund (PPact) forum was not an official convention event during the South Carolina Democrat Convention but it was a must-attend event for 20 presidential hopefuls. The national political director for PPact tweeted out a video of some folks singing the Happy Birthday song to Elizabeth Warren, including Kirsten Gillibrand. As you may have noticed, Gillibrand is making abortion rights her central campaign theme, along with drinking in gay bars and playing beer pong.
— Yasmin Radjy (@yasminradjy) June 23, 2019
PPact is the political arm of Planned Parenthood. This forum in South Carolina was the first such event focused on abortion. The usual talking points were uttered by the candidates.
The candidates were united in decrying a series of tough, recent abortion restrictions approved by Republican-controlled legislatures around the country geared to ultimately provoke a Supreme Court case that could overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision.
Those efforts have come alongside attempts to strip taxpayer funding from Planned Parenthood, which abortion rights advocates and some leading medical groups say would make it harder for low-income women to get access to basic health care, not only abortion.
“We’ve been on defense for 47 years and it’s not working,” Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren said of Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion. Warren, who turned 70 on Saturday, said trying to restrict abortion usually boils down to sexism.
“You’re not going to lock women back in the kitchen. You’re not going to tell us what to do,” she declared, eliciting a standing ovation from hundreds in the crowd, many sporting pink Planned Parenthood T-shirts.
Kirsten Gillibrand described the pushback against infanticide as President Trump’s war on women, though it is literally a war on the unborn. Kamala Harris conflated abortion rights with voting rights.
California Sen. Kamala Harris promised to create a federal system of “preclearance” mandating that states passing major abortion restrictions be subject to federal review, similar to how states with histories of racial discrimination long had their electoral rules scrutinized under the Voting Rights Act.
Joe Biden awkwardly tried to explain his flip-flop-flip on the Hyde Amendment. He seems to be a little rusty about having to articulate his opinions and dealing with time restraints.
Pressed by forum moderators about that change of heart and his overall “mixed record” on abortion rights, Biden responded, “I’m not sure about the mixed record part.”
Later, a tearful audience member declared that the Hyde Amendment did disproportional damage to low-income women who rely on government funding for many health care services, including abortion.
Biden noted that he helped former President Barack Obama pass that administration’s signature health care law which expanded women’s health insurance coverage, including improved access to birth control. He also referred several times to written notes and seemed unnerved by the forum’s 15-minute per candidate limit, joking, “What, do I have 10 seconds left or something?”
South Carolina is a conservative red state. An abortion forum hosted by Planned Parenthood is a new twist in the run-up to the Democrats’ first debate. While being pro-abortion is mandatory for Democrat candidates, abortion is not the top issue under consideration by voters as they decide which candidate to support. Three in ten voters say they will only vote for a candidate who supports their views on abortion. That is the highest number in CNN polling since that organization began polling the issue in 1996. Gender plays into the strongest abortion supporters, as you might expect.
Gender is a big factor in whether a person views abortion as a critical issue, even more than partisanship. Women (33%) — especially independent women (42%) and non-white women (39%) — are more apt to consider it a critical issue than men (26%). The share who say it is critical for them is about the same across party lines (33% for independents, 29% for Democrats, 28% for Republicans).
Twenty percent overall say they don’t see abortion as a major issue, while 45% would consider a candidate’s position on abortion, but don’t see it as a decisive issue.
Steve Bullock, Wayne Messam and Tulsi Gabbard didn’t attend the forum.