Fervent pro-life Congressman Chris Smith vs. Hillary Clinton on abortion. I'll pay for that. Actually, I didn't have too. It was free at today's House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing. Clinton defended family planning and abortion. Read below from AFP:
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, testifying in Congress, defended the right to abortion worldwide and the Obama administration's decision to finance family planning overseas.
Clinton stood her ground against Christopher Smith, a Republican lawmaker from New Jersey who strongly opposes abortion.
Smith, speaking during Clinton's first hearing in the House Foreign Affairs Committee since she became top diplomat, asked if President Barack Obama's team sought to influence African and South American countries on abortion.
"Congressman, I deeply respect your passionate concern and views which you have championed and advocated for over the course of your public career," Clinton told him.
"We, obviously, have a profound disagreement," the chief US diplomat said.
"When I think about the suffering that I have seen of women around the world, I've been in hospitals in Brazil where half the women were enthusiastically and joyfully greeting new babies and the other half were fighting for their lives against botched abortions," said Clinton.
"I've been in African countries where 12 and 13-year-old girls are bearing children. I have been in Asian countries where the denial of family planning consigns women to lives of oppression and hardship," she added.
"It is my strongly held view that you are entitled to advocate and everyone who agrees with you should be free to do so anywhere in the world, and so are we," she said.
"We happen to think that family planning is an important part of women's health and reproductive health includes access to abortion, that I believe should be safe, legal and rare," Clinton added.
"I've spent a lot of my time trying to bring down the rate of abortions and it has been my experience that good family planning and good medical care brings down the rate of abortion," the secretary of state said.
"Keeping women and men in ignorance and denied the access to services actually increases the rate of abortion."
Pro-Life conservative organizations like Family Research Council are extremely upset at Clinton's comments today. Read from their press release below:
"It is clear from this statement that the Obama Administration is working to overturn other countries' pro-life laws," said FRC-Action Senior Vice-President Tom McCluskey. "Secretary Clinton said that Rep. Smith is free to push his belief in pro-life policies in other countries, and that 'we' - evidently referring to the Obama Administration - are free to do the same. "It is appalling but not surprising that this Administration has a total lack of respect for life. Discontent to pro-life protections in our own country, they feel strangely compelled to export a pro-abortion agenda overseas, using taxpayer dollars to do so. "If Secretary Clinton is to be believed, this appears to be the Obama Administration's foreign policy. To push their imperialistic commitment to abortion on demand on countries who oppose their agenda of death is their goal, and they are intent upon doing so. At least they are candid about it. And at least now the American people know, without any doubt, where the Administration stands," McClusky concluded.
Here's the looming question. If The White House believes that the abortion option is critical to family planning, will their reproductive care health care plan cover abortions? If it does, the pro-choice crowd will be thrilled but President Obama runs the big time risk of alienating millions of Catholic voters who stood with him during the 2008 campaign.