Monday, April 4, 2016

Hillary News & Views 4.4: "Reproductive Rights are Human Rights"


Today’s Hillary News & Views begins with the most powerful editorial in support of reproductive rights that I’ve ever seen from a Democratic presidential candidate.
Hillary Clinton writes for Medium:
Donald Trump’s comments are horrific — and telling.
All of the Republican frontrunners for president want to make abortion illegal. Now Donald Trump has said how he’d enforce that prohibition: punishing women and doctors.
Donald Trump can try to distance himself from his comments all he wants. But we all heard what he said. As Maya Angelou said, “When people show you who they are, believe them.”
Donald Trump keeps showing us who he is. We should believe him.
But it’s important to remember that he’s not alone. Donald Trump is just saying what Republican politicians across the country believe — everyone who has signed and voted for laws to defund Planned Parenthood, force women to undergo invasive and medically unnecessary procedures before ending a pregnancy, mandate that doctors recite misleading information to patients, and shutter every abortion provider for miles. These are laws that are meant to shame women and block their access to health care. That’s their purpose.
We don’t need to imagine the consequences of these laws. It’s unfolding right before our eyes.
Right now, the Supreme Court is weighing whether a Texas law imposing unnecessary, expensive requirements on doctors who perform abortions will be allowed to stand. It’s the biggest challenge to Roe v. Wade in a generation. There are so few abortion providers in Texas that getting an abortion can mean taking time off work, finding child care, driving halfway across a state the size of France, and spending a night in a hotel — any one of these things many women simply can’t afford. If the Supreme Court rules that this law is constitutional, there could be just 10 abortion providers left in all of Texas — a place that 5.4 million women of reproductive age call home.
If you have to jump through multiple hoops to access a right, it’s like not having that right at all. It’s a privilege for the wealthy. And when politicians put up barriers that make it all but impossible for low-income women to get an abortion, they’re jeopardizing women’s health, economic security, and futures. That’s just plain wrong.
I come to this issue as a woman, a mother, a grandmother, and a former lawyer. I also come to it as a former First Lady and Secretary of State. On behalf of the United States, I traveled to places where girls are married off as soon as they’re old enough to bear children, because their worth is determined by their fertility, and where the denial of family planning consigns women to lives of hardship. I visited countries where governments have strictly regulated women’s reproduction — either forcing women to have abortions or forcing women to get pregnant and give birth.
Everything I’ve seen has convinced me that life is freer, fairer, healthier, safer, and far more humane when women everywhere are empowered to make their own reproductive decisions.
And everything I’ve heard from Donald Trump and his fellow Republican candidates for president has convinced me that they have no regard for women or our ability to maintain autonomy over our own lives and futures.
They all want limited government — except when it comes to intruding on women’s health.
Reproductive health and rights are a fundamental part of women’s health and rights. And reproductive health includes abortion. So defending women’s health and rights means defending access to abortion — not just in principle but in practice.
In 1995, I traveled to Beijing for the Fourth U.N. World Conference on Women. I addressed human rights abuses in China — including violations of reproductive rights. The message of that conference still echoes around the world today: women’s rights are human rights. And reproductive rights are human rights, too.
We need to repeal laws like the Hyde Amendment that make it harder for low-income women, and disproportionately women of color, to exercise their full reproductive rights. We need to fight against the erosion of rights at the state level, where Republicans have signed laws designed to shame and coerce women and defund Planned Parenthood. We need to ensure that patients and staff are safe to walk into health centers without facing harassment, bullying, or violence. And we must always, always stand with the brave women and men across our country who are as committed as ever to providing safe and legal abortion care, even in places where that right is under concerted attack.
Whenever politicians become involved in deciding whether, when, and how a woman becomes a mother, it’s not just degrading — it’s dangerous. Few decisions are more sacred or intensely personal, and women deserve to make them for ourselves.
Here’s the good news: While Donald Trump is a bully, voters will have our say at the ballot box. So if you disagree with his comments, you’ve got to vote. Vote like your health and rights depend on it. Because they do.

The above op-ed was one of two major essays from Clinton in the past five days. She wrote at length about the Supreme Court as well, also for Medium:

The fate of the Supreme Court is at stake in 2016

The Supreme Court shapes virtually every aspect of life in the United States, from whether you can marry the person you love to whether you can get health care. And for a long time now, its ideological bent has led our country in the wrong direction.
If we’re serious about fighting for progressive causes, we need to focus on the Court: who sits on it, how we choose them and how much we let politics dominate that process.
At its best, the Court is a place where the least powerful voices in our society are heard and protected, whether they’re African Americans trying to vote or get an education in the era of segregated schools and poll taxes … or women trying to make our own health decisions in the face of laws that would strip that right away.
In recent years, the Court has made a lot of high-profile decisions. Some upheld this tradition. Some tarnished it. It made same-sex marriage legal nationwide, preserved the Affordable Care Act not once but twice, and ensured equal access to education for women. But it also effectively declared George W. Bush President, cut the heart out of the Voting Rights Act, and overturned commonsense gun laws.
The death of Justice Scalia marked the end of an era. Now the fight over whether President Obama should nominate a replacement, as the Constitution requires, is revealing the worst of our politics. It’s the same Republican obstructionism we’ve seen since the beginning of the Obama presidency. And it’s the same disregard for the rule of the law that’s given rise to the extremist candidacies of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz.
President Obama has done his job. He’s nominated a distinguished and universally admired judge. Normally, the Senate would now do its job: hold hearings, consider the nomination, and vote. But Republicans say they won’t. Senator Chuck Grassley, the head of the Senate judiciary committee, says we should wait for a new president because “the American people shouldn’t be denied a voice.” But the voices of the 65 million Americans who voted to re-elect Barack Obama are being ignored right now.
This battle is bigger than just one empty seat on the court.
By Election Day, two justices will be more than 80 years old, past the court’s average retirement age. That means whoever America elects this fall could end up nominating multiple justices. Our next president will help determine the future of the court for decades to come.
The stakes couldn’t be higher. In this term alone, the court is evaluating a Texas law that would effectively end the legal right to choose for millions of women… President Obama’s executive actions on immigration, which called for halting the deportation of DREAMers and undocumented parents of citizens and legal residents… whether public universities can consider race as one of many factors in building a student body… and it’s put the president’s clean power plan on hold, jeopardizing our ability to tackle climate change.
In a single term, the Supreme Court could demolish pillars of the progressive movement.
If you care about the fairness of elections, racial disparities in universities, the rights of women, or the future of our planet, you should care about who wins the presidency and appoints the next Supreme Court justices.
Conservatives know exactly how high the stakes are. For years, they’ve used aggressive legal strategies to accomplish through the courts what they’ve failed to do through legislation. Now they are fighting hard to make sure the Supreme Court includes as many right-wing justices as possible.
Think about this: What kind of justice would a President Trump appoint? He believes Muslims should be banned from entering this country because of their faith. He wants to round up 11 million immigrants and kick them out. And he says wages for working people are too high. None of these positions reflect the country we are or what our people need.
Every day, another Republican bemoans the rise of Donald Trump. They say his nomination would set their party back decades. I agree. But Donald Trump didn’t come out of nowhere. What the Republicans have sown with their extremist tactics, they are now reaping with Donald Trump’s candidacy.
When you have leaders willing to bring the whole of government to a halt to make headlines, you may just give rise to candidates who promise to do even more radical and dangerous things. And when you have a party dead-set on demonizing the president, you may just end up with a candidate who says the president never legally was the president at all.
At our best, America has united behind the ideal that everyone deserves a fair shot, no matter who we are or where we started out. And at its best, the Supreme Court has defended that ideal — like in 1954, when the court abolished segregation in our schools; in 1973, when it ruled that women have the right to make intimate health decisions for ourselves; in 1982, when it ruled that undocumented children had the right to go to school; or just last year, when it ruled that marriage equality was the law of the land.
The court can either make America a fairer place, or roll back the progress we’ve worked so hard to achieve. It depends on what the court decides. And it depends on all of us.
This election has made it absolutely clear to everyone how essential the Supreme Court is. I will keep talking about it and calling on the Senate to do its job. And I hope there will be a great chorus of voices across our land that will do the same.
It’s our Constitution. It’s our court. And it’s our future.
Clinton spoke powerfully at a dinner for Wisconsin Democrats on Saturday night. Clinton also held a rally in Wisconsin the same day.

Slate reports:
Hillary Clinton began much differently, name-checking each of the party VIPs in attendance. “It is great to be here with some of your best,” she said, rattling off names like Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett; “your fearless congresswoman,” Rep. Gwen Moore; your “fantastic senator,” Tammy Baldwin. She praised former Sen. Russ Feingold, who’s running to recapture his seat this cycle. She mentioned a few out-of-staters in attendance: Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards (“my friend”), Minnesota Sen. Al Franken, California Rep. Maxine Waters, and Indiana Rep. Andre Carson.
“To all of the city, state and local leaders who pour your hearts into building the Democratic Party across Wisconsin, please know this: I will help you take back the governorship and the state legislature,” she said. “I am a proud Democrat, and I support Democrats up and down the ticket, always have, always will.”
Each candidate made their broader pitch, but Clinton paid special attention to local political issues to show her devotion to party efforts at lower levels. “If I’m fortunate enough to earn the Democratic nomination, I will have your back against Gov. Walker and the Tea Party legislature here in Wisconsin,” she concluded. “I will campaign to elect Democrats at every level. … I’m the only candidate in this race who’s pledged to raise money to help build our party. I want to be your partner for the long haul—not just when I’m on the ballot, not just in an election year.”
Mother Jones reports:
"It is terrible to see the damage Gov. Walker and his allies in the legislature have done in just five years," Clinton said.
Clinton tied a host of her regular campaign issues into a referendum against Walker. "We believe that a governor that attacks teachers, nurses, and firefighters, it doesn't make him a leader, it makes him a bully," she said. She warned that Ted Cruz and the other Republican presidential candidates would export Walker-style policies nationally, and that the result would be cataclysmic for the country.
Clinton promised to do everything in her power to get Walker out of office and get Democrats back in control of the Wisconsin legislature. "In 2018, we will defeat Scott Walker," Clinton guaranteed.
She trained her harshest criticism on Rebecca Bradley, a state Supreme Court justice appointed by Walker and who is up for election on Tuesday. During the campaign, liberals in Wisconsin have highlighted Bradley's past writings, which included a 2006 column in which the judge likens use of birth control to murder. "I had to read this three times, she has actually said birth control is morally abhorrent and doctors who provided it, namely birth control, and women who use it, namely birth control, are party to murder," Clinton said, her voice full of astonishment.
"There is no place," she said, "on any Supreme Court, or any court in this country, no place at all for Rebecca Bradley's decades-long track record of dangerous rhetoric against women, survivors of sexual assault, and the LGBT community."
WTSP reports:
"I will stand with you — I will have your back," said Clinton, the former secretary of state, senator and first lady, who stressed her experience in public office.
“Wisconsin was such a pioneer, a pioneer in making progress on behalf of working people, a pioneer in an idea,” Clinton said. “Wisconsin understood before most of rest of the country did that economy and higher education were linked.”
"I admire that," she said. "(I’m) disheartened to see the dismantling of so many pieces of what made Wisconsin not just a great state to live in and a great state to work in, but an example for so many others.”
Clinton also hit at Sanders for his free college tuition plan, saying she's not willing to let taxpayers pay for the college of wealthy Americans.
Sanders' plan would have the federal government match state government funding for university tuition for in-state students 2-1. Clinton said getting state governors like Walker to buy into that plan wouldn't work, because Walker has made cuts to the University of Wisconsin System in the last budget.
"That would be like a death bed conversion," she joked to the crowd. "I'm not convinced that's going to happen."
She also argued she's the best-positioned candidate to take on a Republican in the November general election.
"(Republicans) have been after me a really long time, and it drives them crazy, but I'm still standing," she said to cheers from the crowd.
Wall Street Journal reports:
At a rally in Eau Claire, Wis., the former secretary of state took a jab at Mr. Sanders without mentioning him by name, questioning his party credentials. Mr. Sanders was an independent for decades before declaring himself a Democrat last year when he entered the presidential race.
Mrs. Clinton said she has been “a proud Democrat all my adult life.”
She added, “And I think that’s kind of important if we’re selecting someone to be the Democratic nominee of the Democratic Party.”
With its liberal tradition and predominately white Democratic electorate, Wisconsin is friendly terrain for Mr. Sanders. Some of Mrs. Clinton’s advisers, fearing her seventh defeat in the last eight contests, didn’t believe it would be worthwhile for her to make another trip to the state. But, as Democrats award delegates on a proportional basis, if Mrs. Clinton can keep the race close she is assured a healthy share of Wisconsin’s 86 delegates. At present, Mrs. Clinton’s pledged delegate lead stands at 1,243 to 980. A total of 2,383 delegates are needed to clinch the nomination.
Also at the rally, Mrs. Clinton talked about the voter anger that has suffused the presidential race andin some measurehas helped propel both the Sanders and Trump candidacies.
A better outlet for that anger is to elect someone who knows how to work the levers of government and make progress, Mrs. Clinton said.
In a veiled reference to Mr. Sanders’s plans for a government-run healthcare system and free tuition at public colleges, she said: “It shouldn’t be enough that people just make promises that are going to be really hard or impossible to keep…”
“I have watched how we make progress in America, and once you finish venting your anger, then you’ve got to elect people who can get things done,” she added.
Should she win the nomination, Mrs. Clinton might face Mr. Trump in the general election. At the rally, she rattled off some of his foreign-policy positions, including his call for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the U.S. and his argument that North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies aren’t paying their fair share in sustaining the military alliance.
“When he says, ‘Keep Muslims out of America’a country like ours founded on religious libertywhen he … insults NATO and our Asian allies by saying, basically, we’re going to walk away, he’s putting at risk the coalition of nations we need to defeat ISIS. He’s basically making our situation worse and more dangerous around the world.”
Nicole Bell,fiancé of Sean Bell, who was killed in 2006 by NYC police officers on the morning of their wedding day, has endorsed Clinton. The endorsement is a timely reminder that Clinton is not new to the causes of racial injustice and criminal justice reform, intervening in this particular case while she was still in her first Senate term.

New York Times reports:
“Nine years ago, I lost my fiancé, Sean Bell, in a police-involved shooting, and unfortunately, there are too many families with stories like mine,” Ms. Bell said in a statement provided Saturday to The New York Times.
Mrs. Clinton, she said, “understands that we need reforms that can be felt on our streets and in our communities and that she “will stand up to the gun lobby, work to end racial profiling, and make key investments to ensure that law enforcement officials have adequate training.”
In 2006, plainclothes and undercover police officers fired into Mr. Bell’s car 50 times, killing him and wounding two of his friends; the men were leaving a strip club in Queens where Mr. Bell had celebrated his bachelor party. The shooting rocked the city and drew responses from civil rights activists and elected officials, including Mrs. Clinton, who was a senator representing New York at the time.
Mr. Bell and his friends were not armed. The three detectives charged in the shooting were acquitted on all counts. A judge ruled that based on conversations overheard around the club, the detectives had reason to believe that someone in the group was armed as Mr. Bell tried to drive away from the officers, at one point crashing into an unmarked police van. Still, the city paid $7 million in a settlement to Mr. Bell’s family and his two wounded friends. The detectives were forced out of the department.
In the first major policy speech of her campaign, Mrs. Clinton last spring called for an overhaul of the criminal justice system and an end to the “era of mass incarceration.” She has received broad support from mothers who have lost children to clashes with police or gun violence, and has held campaign events with the mothers of Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner and Sandra Bland.
“Hillary gets it,” Ms. Bell said. “Nine years ago, Hillary Clinton was there for me, and today, I’m with her.”
Clinton attended Black Girls Rock, and received a rapturous welcome.

Vibe reports:
The Democratic frontrunner, and former Secretary of State was welcomed to the stage by a standing ovation. “The entire world knows what you know, and that is, black girls rock!,” Clinton said.
The former First Lady has made numerous cameos and guest appearances to shows and events in addition to Black Girls Rock, including late night television, and Broad City.
Work that campaign trail, Ms. Clinton.
The Source has more:
Clinton was welcomed with cheers when she called Black women “change makers and path makers and ground shakers” as she introduced DJ Beverly Bond, who founded Black Girls Rock! in 2006.
“There are still a lot of barriers holding back African Americans and Black women in particular, so a gathering like this filled with so many powerful, strong women is a rebuke to every single one of those barriers,” Clinton said. “All of our kids, no matter what zip code they live in, deserve a good teacher and a good school, a safe community and clean water to drink.”
Bill de Blasio, Mayor of New York City, is stepping up in his role as Clinton surrogate.

Yahoo! Politics reports:
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio defended Hillary Clinton against criticism that she has taken money from members of the oil and gas industry in a press conference call hosted by her campaign on Friday afternoon. De Blasio touted his own reputation as a progressive leader and claimed the argument that Clinton is too cozy with the industry is false.
“I’m a progressive, and I tell you this one doesn’t hold water,” de Blasio said.
He also pointed out that he has regularly offered praise for Clinton since she “put out the fullness of her platform.
“I’ve been talking to the campaign since early 2015 on a very consistent basis, and I’ve constantly spoken up about what I thought was impressive about Hillary Clinton, why I thought she had more experience as a candidate and more qualifications as a candidate than anyone — almost anyone who’s run for president,” de Blasio said, adding, “I’ve been a campaign manager. A campaign has lots of decisions it has to make about how it’s approaching each state, who they’re working with in each place. That’s a question for them, but I can tell you I’ve been very comfortable speaking up for her.”
The conference call came together as a result of a conversation de Blasio had with the Clinton campaign staff on Friday morning. De Blasio said they discussed the attacks Clinton has faced for taking donations from employees of oil and gas companies, and he offered to “address it.”
On the conference call Friday, de Blasio argued that a relatively “small number of individuals” employed by oil and gas companies have given to Clinton’s campaign. He also said it would be unfair to “lump in” money given to her super-PAC. De Blasio suggested the discussion should focus on Clinton’s platform. He described her policies as “quite sharp” on both fossil fuels and Wall Street regulation, another area where she has faced attacks from Sanders for her industry ties.
“I would also note her platform calls clearly for an end to tax breaks to fossil-fuel companies and like her positions on Wall Street, where her policies, her vision for reining in Wall Street is stronger than Sen. Sanders’ … she is being very clear in her platform,” de Blasio said. “She is being quite sharp in her platform about the fact that those tax breaks have to end, and the focus has to be on renewable energy and the jobs that will come with it.”
De Blasio criticized the Sanders campaign for highlighting Clinton’s donations from people with ties to oil and gas companies.
“I have many times praised Sen. Sanders for some of the ideas he’s put forward and some of the ways he has moved the discussion in this country in a positive direction,” de Blasio said. “But this attack is not becoming of him, and it’s not becoming of that movement to bring about more progressive change, and I think we should just get back to the issues.”
Clinton’s election as the first female president will be more than just symbolic.

The Atlantic reports:
Clinton’s leadership and active advocacy for women’s issues, on the other hand, is a common thread that is present throughout her time in public life. While at the State Department, she established the first federal Office of Global Women’s Issues to ensure that gender equality is a cornerstone of international-relations practices, including through partnerships with local entrepreneurship programs across Africa and Southeast Asia aimed at helping women’s businesses succeed as well as plans to engage women in diplomacy and community-building in places like Burma and Afghanistan. Her efforts to support women’s rights domestically and globally are no ancillary concern: They are intrinsically tied to the core of the work she does.
In her own Senate office—where Clinton was known for aggressively ensuring that the men and women who worked for her were equally paid and were offered family-leave time—this underlying thread is especially apparent. The public release of Clinton’s email tranches revealed numerous occasions when members of her staff were granted extra vacation days around the holidays to spend more time with their families. And when Anne-Marie Slaughter, the department’s policy planning director, suggested Clinton do the same to let employees know it was all right, Clinton did just that, leading by example. As Slaughter said at an Atlantic Live event earlier this year: “I knew Hillary Clinton cared. I talked to her about having kids when she hired me.” What’s more, during her time as senator, Clinton hired twice as many women as men to work in her office—a proportion that upends the overwhelming trend in Washington.
As reported by my colleague Clare Foran, in response to concerns about Clinton’s commitment to intersectionality, the campaign has recently focused its message on spotlighting the relationships across and between issues—a step that could be seen as an insincere ploy but perhaps should be seen as an acknowledgment that she needs to improve her approach to these disparities. While it’s vital to call Clinton out on the areas where she falls short on intersectionality, it’s also important to note how often she doesn’t. After all, components of the idea have long been part of her legislative platform. She has advocated extensively to protect the health insurance of low-income children, playing a pivotal role in establishing the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, and she was one of two cosponsors on the Safe, Orderly, Legal Visas and Enforcement Act, which pushed for comprehensive immigration reform in 2003. Plus, Clinton’s use of the term “intersectionality” itself marks one of the first times a major political candidate has explicitly referenced the concept in a broad public conversation—certainly a meaningful step toward increasing general awareness and application of it. As is so often the case with her candidacy, there is much Clinton must answer for—but there is also much she has achieved.
Reckoning with the contradictions that she embodies is one of the toughest challenges that Clinton faces. But to call her just a “symbol” is a major discredit to the concrete progress she has made and to the qualifications she possesses. Talk about reductionist. Like any candidate, Clinton needs to be asked tough questions and pushed for answers. But to suggest that Millennials are being asked to vote for her simply because she is a woman, and not because she would be good for women, is foolhardy and dismisses Clinton’s deep experience championing and prioritizing women’s issues domestically and globally. In fact, contrasting Clinton’s and Sanders’s approaches, it’s clear that she’s not simply a supporter of policies for women; she’s a leader.

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