Crossfire's Joe Watkins claimed Hillary Clinton is trying to become "a pro-life person"February 23, 2005 3:12 PM EST ››› NICOLE CASTA
On the February 22 edition of CNN's Crossfire, guest host and radio host Joe Watkins accused Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) of "trying to change to come from a pro-choice person to a pro-life person." Since Clinton's January 24 speech to family planning advocates in Albany, New York, conservatives have claimed that she is moving away from her pro-choice stance in order to increase her political appeal in advance of a 2008 presidential bid. But as Media Matters for America has noted, Clinton's speech was fully consistent with her previous statements and votes on the issue. Moreover, Clinton has since reiterated her pro-choice views on CNN.
In her speech, Clinton praised the Putting Prevention First Act, a bill she co-sponsored that is designed to "expand access to preventive health care services and education programs that help reduce unintended pregnancies," saying: "It provides a roadmap to the destination of fewer unwanted pregnancies -- to the day when abortion is truly safe, legal, and rare." Clinton also warned against government interference in a woman's right to an abortion. As a January 25 New York Times report on Clinton's speech pointed out, Clinton "appeared to be reaching out beyond traditional core Democrats who support abortion rights. She did so not by changing her political stands but by underscoring her views."
Clinton spoke directly to questions about her position on abortion on the February 10 edition of CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports, stating that she "absolutely" supports a woman's right to have an abortion:
WOLF BLITZER (host): Some abortion supporters -- abortion rights supporters among women's groups were a little concerned by those recent comments you made. So, just explain to our viewers, what is your stance right now?
CLINTON: Well, I have tried to make clear over many, many years that I believe that this is a very difficult issue, morally and in every other way. I don't see how the government can enter into this matter and criminalize the behavior of women and their doctors. Therefore, my hope is that we can find common ground to deal with the underlying problem which happens to be unplanned, unwanted pregnancies. The more we can work together to try to decrease those numbers, the less this will be a pressing issue in the hearts and minds of so many Americans.
BLITZER: But fundamentally, you still support a women's right to have an abortion?