Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was honored Saturday night in Houston by America’s leading provider of abortions, with an award named for a woman who believed the population of inferior races should be trimmed, and Texas newspapers kept their headlines bland. "Clinton honored for support of women’s rights," said the Dallas Morning News over an AP dispatch. "Clinton champions women’s rights worldwide," cooed the Houston Chronicle. AP’s Juan Lozano offered few highlights (or lowlights) of the speech, but it was a bit shocking to see Mrs. Clinton equate anti-abortion advocacy and anti-democratic politics:
HOUSTON — Helping women’s reproductive and health rights flourish is an important part of U.S. efforts to develop democracy around the world and defeat extremism, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said during a speech Friday.
"A society that denies and demeans women’s rights and roles is a society that is more likely to engage in behavior that is negative, anti-democratic and leads to violence and extremism," Clinton said at Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s national conference in Houston.
Does that mean that the pro-life movement in Western nations isn’t pushing merely for an end to abortion, but against democracy and in favor of violence and extremism? That doesn’t sound very diplomatic for the nation’s chief diplomat. From Newsblaze, the State Department transcript offers a little more context. Hillary believes abortion activism is a great strategy against terrorism:
Earlier this morning, and one of the reasons why I was so late getting to my first event, which was up in Dallas at the Women's Museum, and then to come down here to Houston, is because I was at the White House with the President and our national security team announcing the results of our strategic review about Afghanistan and Pakistan. And as we went through this review over the last two months, one of the points that I and others made is that as we integrate our military and civilian aspects with a mission of disrupting and dismantling and defeating al-Qaida and their allies in Afghanistan and Pakistan, we cannot lose sight of the fact that assisting women's development in those two countries is part of America's strategy to be successful in our mission. (Applause.)
A society that denies and demeans women's roles and rights is a society that is more likely to engage in behavior that is negative, anti-democratic, and which often leads to violence and extremism. So the material building blocks of daily life are the most reliable aspects of building democracy, delivering on economic opportunity and adequate food supplies and clean water and a clean environment, and we know that access to family planning broadens the horizons and expands the vision of women everywhere. (Applause.)
It is important for us to remain committed here at home and around the world. When more than half a million women die every year in childbirth and we know that the majority of those deaths could be prevented, then we are missing an opportunity, not only for humanitarian assistance but to build a strong foundation for democratic and positive decision making by people whose lives are freer from the kind of struggle and strife and loss that too many women suffer.
Reporters never seem to ask the question: If America has been too aggressive in forcing Western culture on Islamic countries, if we have "ugly Americans" for pressing democracy on them before they wanted it, how is it that the President Obama and Secretary Clinton will make great friends among the devout Muslims by championing abortion?
Mrs. Clinton was not at all shy about receving a Sanger Award. She declared her awe for this championing of keeping the "morons" from reproducing:
Now, I have to tell you that it was a great privilege when I was told that I would receive this award. I admire Margaret Sanger enormously, her courage, her tenacity, her vision. Another of my great friends, Ellen Chesler, is here, who wrote a magnificent biography of Margaret Sanger called "Woman of Valor". And when I think about what she did all those years ago in Brooklyn, taking on archetypes, taking on attitudes and accusations flowing from all directions, I am really in awe of her.
The 20th century reproductive rights movement, really embodied in the life and leadership of Margaret Sanger, was one of the most transformational in the entire history of the human race. It has changed the lives of tens of millions of women. It has changed attitudes and perceptions about women and our roles in society. It ushered in demographic and social changes that have brought us closer to gender equality than at any time....
So it often is important to remember what is most basic in any of our lives. The ability to plan a family and to raise healthy children is certainly at the core of that. Ensuring that women have that freedom will be the policy of this Administration. (Applause.) And there isn't any organization in the world with a reputation for caring so much and doing so much and being so courageous or truly being a valorous organization in the tradition as a woman of valor.
National Review chastised Chesler back in 1992 for stepping around and making excuses for Sanger's embrace of eugenics (although I don't embrace the modeling of Sanger as a "quintessential Randian protagonist.")