At the Planned Parenthood National Conference in DC, Hillary Clinton delivers her first speech after clinching the Democratic nomination. That’s right: Hillary’s first post-victory speech as the first female presidential nominee of a major party in the nation’s history will be to the Planned Parenthood Action Fund.
As Hillary pivots to the general election, speaking at the Planned Parenthood conference in the nation’s capital sends a strong—and unmistakable—message about her priorities.
First: That her commitment to women and families—which has been a centerpiece of her career from her time as an attorney to her tenure as Secretary of State—is unwavering. Access to comprehensive reproductive healthcare has always been a crucial part of the polities she’s championed. That hasn’t, and will not, change.
Second: That she recognizes the importance of making sure all people who need access to abortion have it. Black women and Latinas, who are disproportionately likely to live in poverty, are also disproportionately likely to have their access to abortion limited by state-level abortion restrictions and by the inability to personally fund abortions. To that end, Hillary will reiterate her support for repealing the Hyde Amendment.
Third: That she has zero tolerance for Republicans’ hostility toward abortion and contraception access—or, for that matter, for Donald Trump’s contemptible attitudes toward women generally. Get ready for her to bring the fire!
I am very excited that Hillary is making Planned Parenthood her first stop as the nominee. I am grateful to her for making reproductive rights such a visible priority.
This is why it matters that Hillary is a progressive woman. She understands, as a woman herself, as a person who had to balance family and career, as a mother, as a grandmother, as a boss to other working moms, how important it is to have control of one’s reproduction.
She knows that because she listens. She listens to other parents, to their struggles. She listens to women who don’t want children, to their fears. She listens to pregnant people, to their needs.
Here, for example, is Hillary at a Congressional hearing on reproductive rights in 2009, sharing a little bit of what she’s learned by listening: “We happen to think that family planning is an important part of women’s health—and reproductive health includes access to abortion.”
Hillary is a candidate who carries with her the stories of women she has met all across the globe. Our successes and struggles, our joy and heartbreak. And she doesn’t see us as a special interest group, but as half the world’s population. Of which she is a part.
She recognizes our reproductive healthcare needs as both vast and urgent—and, unlike every other person who has held the office to which she aspires, she does not have the luxury of pretending that these needs are somehow separate, and secondary, to all the other issues being discussed.
When she talks about economic justice, she knows that half the population’s economic security is inextricably tied to our ability to control our reproduction.
When she talks about workers’ rights, she knows that half the population’s employment opportunities and security are inextricably tied to our ability to control our reproduction.
When she talks about foreign policy, she knows that half the population’s freedom, or lack thereof, which is inextricably tied to our ability to control our reproduction, can mean the difference between stability or extremism.
Over and over and over, Hillary has spoken about how women are key to peacekeeping. How we must be empowered to participate fully in every nation. How we are wasting half the world’s talent when we oppress women. And she knows that all of that is inextricably tied to our ability to control our reproduction.
No other candidate in this election has articulated so clearly a vision of a world in which women are given, must be given, every opportunity to participate, fully and on our own terms.
No one else would make Planned Parenthood their first port of call.
This is what a feminist presidential candidate looks like.
(AP Photo/Steven Senne)