Speaking at Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s national conference in Houston this past Friday, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced that promoting “reproductive rights” –including abortion- will be at the top of the government’s international agenda.
After being honored by Planned Parenthood with the Margaret Sanger award for her “work on behalf of women’s health and reproductive rights,” the Secretary of State said “I have to tell you that it was a great privilege when I was told that I would receive this award. I admire Margaret Sanger enormously, her courage, her tenacity, her vision.”
Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, was openly sympathetic with to Nazi Germany’s eugenic practices and was strongly committed to preventing blacks, Hispanics and poor people from reproducing.
Praising the organization that endorsed her after during her unsuccessful bid for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, Clinton said that “the overarching mission of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the cause of reproductive freedom that you continue to advance today is as relevant in our world now as it was a hundred years ago.”
“Yet,” she continued, “we know that Margaret Sanger's work here in the United States and certainly across our globe is not done. Here at home, there are still too many women who are denied their rights because of income, because of opposition, because of attitudes that they harbor. But around the world, too many women are denied even the opportunity to know about how to plan and space their families. They're denied the power to do anything about the most intimate of decisions.”
“I want to assure you that reproductive rights and the umbrella issue of women's rights and empowerment will be a key to the foreign policy of this Administration,” she assured as the crowd applauded.
“I believe that women's rights and empowerment is an indispensible ingredient of smart power and therefore is integrated into our renewed emphasis on diplomacy and development… and I was very proud when President Obama repealed the Mexico City policy,” Clinton said, eliciting thunderous applause.
“As a result, nongovernmental organizations overseas can once again use U.S. funding to provide the full range of family planning services so that women and their families can get access to the healthcare that they need,” she said.
Clinton officially announced that the United States will once again fund family planning, including abortion as an option, through the United Nations. “We are going to fund a contribution of $50 million this fiscal year. That's a 130 percent increase over our last contribution, which was made in 2001.” “Congress has also approved the Administration's request for $545 million in bilateral assistance for family planning and reproductive health programs this year,” she informed the audience.
The Secretary of State also revealed that Obama’s policy towards dismantling and defeating al-Qaeda and their allies in Afghanistan and Pakistan will include “assisting women's development in those two countries” because “we know that access to family planning broadens the horizons and expands the vision of women everywhere.”
Clinton then connected national security and political instability around the world with the need to promote family planning and abortion.
“Simply put, infant mortality is connected to a lower quality of life. And a lower quality of life is the by-product of inadequate healthcare, including inadequate family planning options.”
Moreover, Clinton claimed that Indonesia “in ten short years has moved from tyranny to democracy” because of the coexistence of “Islam, modernization, and women's rights.”
“There is a connection between the commitment to family planning and the secular democracy that Indonesia has become,” she argued.
Clinton then said that NGOs like Planned Parenthood are “one of the great exports that America has,” and said that, “at the end of the next four years, I hope that we'll be able to look around the world and see that it is more peaceful, more prosperous, more progressive, and that, in particular, women's voices will be heard at every place where important decisions are made, and that organizations like Planned Parenthood will be our partners.”
Clinton ended her speech by thanking Planned Parenthood’s leadership for its advocacy for “women's reproductive health” in deliberations about the Obama Administration’s future healthcare system.