Abortion has been a hot topic within the media for years, but always seems to be more influential to discuss during a time of politics. For example, any election or political debate, it always seems to be a debate topic, but “why” one may ask? Abortion has been a very controversial topic for years upon anyone with a personal opinion. “In 2012, 699,202 legal induced abortions were reported to CDC from 49 reporting areas. The abortion rate for 2012 was 13.2 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–44 years, and the abortion ratio was 210 abortions per 1,000 live births” (www.CDC.gov). With statistics this high, why would it not be such a highly discussed matter for anyone? More importantly, why would such a controversial matter not be discussed within politics?
“The women’s rights movement of the 1960s and 1970s successfully argued in court that freedom and dignity required that women be allowed to control their own bodies, including whether they could abort a fetus. The Supreme Court agreed in the famous Roe v. Wade decision of 1973” (Fineman, 2015). Planned Parenthood has been under political and physical attacks for years now and is central to politics in Washington. It seems that there is a contentious argument between anti-abortion Conservatives and pro-abortion Liberals. The abortion topic is always a perfect fundraising opportunity for both parties.
“Anti-abortion Republicans – which is to say nearly all Republicans – want to score points with their own supporters by trying to cut off government funding for Planned Parenthood, and GOP presidential candidates will be at the forefront of doing so in Congress” (Fineman, 2015). Donald Trump, the Republican presidential candidate, states that he is pro-life. In an interview with Fox News host, Bill O’Reilly, Trump was asked if he would get a judge to overthrow or overturn Roe v. Wade. Trump responded with “well overthrow or overturn, look I’m going to put conservative judges on.” As O’Reilly attempted to clarify further, he asked Trump “your specific thing to protect the sanctity of life would be appointing a Supreme Court justice that would overturn Roe v. Wade, do I have it?” Trump had then responded, “well, they’ll be pro-life and we’ll see about overturning. I will appoint judges that will be pro-life.” According to USA Today, “Trump has repeatedly said he would appoint conservatives to the court, but largely hasn’t elaborated on the details” (Collins, 2016).
“Pro-abortion rights Democrats – which is to say nearly all Democrats – want to score points with their own supporters by defending Planned Parenthood and are eager to portray the GOP as a cadre of irresponsible zealots eager to hold government hostage” (Fineman, 2015). Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential candidate, has made it evidently clear that she is pro-choice. Brune (2016) wrote that “Clinton promised she would fight against the erosion of abortion and reproductive rights while seeking to break down barriers by increasing minimum wages, pushing for family leave and repealing the Hyde Amendment, which bars federal funding for abortion.” Clinton is a strong believer of women’s rights, as she’s been fighting for them for years. In January, as Clinton, the national health care and abortion provider, faced attacks from conservatives and Republicans, Planned Parenthood’s president made Hillary their first presidential endorsement. Fulfilled with joy, Clinton had delightfully responded “I’ve been proud to stand with Planned Parenthood for a long time, and, as president, I will always have your back.”
NARAL, or the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League, Pro-Choice America is a 501(c)(4) organization in the United States that engages in political action to oppose restrictions on abortion and expand access to abortion. It is a non-profit organization, and has twenty state affiliates, including states like Arizona, Illinois, South Dakota, and Washington. In the 2008 U.S. presidential election, NARAL endorsed Barack Obama as their Democratic candidate because they were acknowledging that Obama was likely to be the nominee and that there was a growing divide between black voters and white female activists. Every year, the organization holds a rally in favor of pro-choice and full of women and men fighting for the rights of abortion. NARAL Pro-Choice America’s president, Ilyse Hogue, was present for the first presidential debate. As she patiently waited, among many others, for Lester Holt to bring up the topic of reproductive rights, she had already known what was going to happen. “She thinks that Trump will ‘avoid this issue like the plague’ as we approach November because (a) anti-choice politicians typically don’t discuss abortion in the general election, and (b) Trump has proven he doesn’t know what he’s talking about when it comes to reproductive rights” (Rinkunas, 2016). Hogue has stated many times that Trump cannot get away from discussing the topic because of choice of a running mate, Indiana governor, Mike Pence. “Arguably, the most important decision [Trump] has had to make so far in this election is who his vice-presidential candidate is, and he picked the most extreme politician in the country on issues of reproductive health and freedom,” Hogue stated in an interview.
Now, Clinton also chose a vice-presidential candidate that has opposite reproductive views of hers. In 2005, when running for the governor of Virginia, Senator Tim Kaine made a clear stance on abortion: “I have a faith-based opposition, and I will work in good faith to reduce abortions.” For many years, Kaine has went on to praise adoption as the best solution to any unwanted pregnancy, and promoted abstinence-only sex educations in schools. He also had a hand in backing the “informed consent” law of Virginia, which requires women seeking an abortion to undergo a series of medically unnecessary ultrasounds. It does not take long to realize that his views on reproductive issues are strictly conservative. Paquette (2016) wrote in an article that stated “Kaine’s past didn’t stop Hillary Clinton – who wants to allow federal funding to cover low-income women’s abortion costs, among other progressive proposals – from naming Kaine her vice-presidential pick. He acknowledged one of their key differences in a Sunday email to supporters. ‘Hillary and I have different faiths,’ he wrote, ‘but we share a common creed: Do all the good you can in all the ways you can.” Even Ilyse Hogue had something to note on this “dramatic behavior shift.” Hogue said in a statement “while Senator Kaine has been open about his personal reservations about abortion, he’s maintained a 100% pro-choice voting record in the U.S. Senate. He voted against dangerous abortion bans, he has voted to strengthen clinic security by establishing a federal fund for it” (Paquette, 2016).
“While Kaine has personally struggled with the issue of abortion in the past because of his faith, he and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton both strongly support the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, which protects a women’s right to seek abortion up until the time the fetus would be viable outside the womb. Kaine attacked Trump on Tuesday night for saying women should face ‘some form of punishment’ for having an abortion” (Bassett, 2016). In the vice-presidential debate, it was ruled that Tim Kaine schooled Mike Pence on the topic of abortion. Bassett (2016) also stated that Kaine shined on the issue of abortion in the vice presidential debate, making a strong case for women’s moral autonomy. Pence had been making very opposing viewpoints throughout the debate, saying that “he is not a polished politician and would never support legislation that would punish women who made the heartbreaking choice.” Although, the article seems to have a different opinion: “His record suggests otherwise. As a congressman, Pence once co-sponsored a bill that would force women to undergo an ultrasound before an abortion and hear a detailed description of the fetus, regardless of whether the procedure is medically necessary. As governor, he signed a bill that would require doctors to offer women the ‘remains’ of the fetus after an abortion, which serves no apparent purpose other than to humiliate them” (Bassett, 2016). Pence claims to be pro-abortion, so why would he sign a bill that mocks the very idea of it? He has also criticized Clinton on her desire to end the Hyde amendment. Should Pence not be siding with the overturning of the Hyde amendment since he supposedly shares the same views as Clinton?
Abortion is a widely expressed topic throughout many forms of media, especially within politics. From right-winged to left-winged politics, it is not hard to see that this upcoming election has a lot to figure out and fight for within their ideologies and campaigns. How can each presidential candidate have a vice president that has such opposing viewpoints on their ideals? It makes for one hell of an interesting media debate, and many controversial debates.