Hillary Clinton gets a lot of crap over "campaign by focus group politics" and I don't honestly think that fair when that happens, but one issue that nobody can accuse her of wavering on is her unflinching support of Planned Parenthood. Clinton went on offense this week against Republicans trying to shut down the government over funding for the organization in a big way. Greg Sargent:
Clinton has defended Planned Parenthood before, but in the portion of the Des Moines Register interview in which she discussed the group, she telegraphed a more detailed response. Asked about the fetal tissue videos, Clinton immediately brushed off that part of the question, noting that fact-checkers had debunked claims (those made by Carly Fiorina) about the videos’ contents, suggesting that Republicans are “trying to inflame their base” against the group. She added:
“I will continue to defend Planned Parenthood, because services that Planned Parenthood provides are broad, and necessary for millions of American women. Five hundred thousand breast screening exams. A lot of other screening programs that are carried out. Family planning and contraceptive testing for HIV AIDS.
“The Republicans have made it clear in recent years that they are not only opposed to abortion, which they have been for quite some time. They’re increasingly opposed to family planning and contraception. This is a direct assault on a woman’s right to choose health care. Forget about abortion, which is something that a limited number of Planned Parenthood facilities perform, with not a penny of federal money.
“The money they want to cut off…is money that goes to health services. That is why it’s important that we continue to try to educate the public and draw a very clear line in defense of Planned Parenthood.”
The Clinton camp appears to have calculated that an immediate pivot away from the videos and the controversial topic of abortion, and to the group’s role in providing a range of health services to women, is not hard to pull off. And that the politics of this battle are worse for Republicans over the long term, particularly for a general election.
This is absolutely the correct counter-attack Democrats should be making, and Clinton isn't the only one doing it of course, but she's arguably the most visible advocate for women right now for the Democrats, and she's doing the right thing.
Democrats need to make this argument, it's not about abortion or fetal tissue, it's about women, choices in their health care, and their bodies.