U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton engaged in rare commentary about domestic politics, firing a salvo at the Republican War on Women while speaking at the 2012 Women in the World Summit in New York City on Saturday. Conservatives have waged a war on women, ramping up since President Obama’s decision in January to ensure contraception services are available to all women.
“Why extremists always focus on women remains a mystery to me,” Clinton told the audience. “But they all seem to. It doesn’t matter what country they’re in or what religion they claim. They want to control women. They want to control how we dress, they want to control how we act, they even want to control the decisions we make about our own health and bodies. Yes, it is hard to believe that even here at home, we have to stand up for women’s rights and reject efforts to marginalize any one of us, because America needs to set an example for the entire world. And it seems clear to me that to do that, we have to live our own values and we have to defend our own values. We need to respect each other, empower all our citizens, and find common ground.”
Today, Maureen Dowd at the New York Times weighed in on Secretary Clinton’s speech and the War on Women. In “Don’t tread On Us,” Dowd writes that “Hillary Clinton has fought for women’s rights around the world. But who would have dreamed that she would have to fight for them at home?”
I encourage you to read the piece in full. A few more excerpts:
As secretary of state, Clinton is supposed to stay out of domestic politics. But this was a moment pregnant with possibility, a titanic clash of the Inevitable (Hillary) and the Indefensible (Republican cavemen).
The attempt by Republican men to wrestle American women back into chastity belts has not only breathed life into President Obama, it has roused and riled Hillary. And that could turn out to be the most dangerous thing the wildly self-destructive G.O.P. leaders have done.
In some kind of insane bout of mass misogyny, Republicans are hounding out the women voters — including Republicans and independents — who helped them gain control of the House in 2010.
And whose arms would be more welcoming to the sisters than Hillary’s? The woman who has been mocked as “the sex-retary of state” by Rush Limbaugh would know just where to hit back.
The Republican assault on women does, though, provide a glide path to the White House both for Obama in 2012 and Hillary in 2016.
Women have watched a chilling cascade of efforts in Congress and a succession of states to turn women into chattel, to shame them about sex and curb their reproductive rights. They’ve seen the craven response of G.O.P. candidates after Limbaugh branded a law student wanting insurance coverage for birth control pills, commonplace for almost five decades, as a “prostitute” and “slut.”
American women have suddenly realized that their emancipation in the 21st century is not as secure as they had assumed. On “Meet the Press” on Sunday, Gov. Bob McDonnell of Virginia, a Republican, had the gall to say this, justifying his support for a bill designed to humiliate women getting abortions by penetrating them with a wand to take a picture: “Every invasive procedure has an informed consent requirement.” What he really meant is that when abortion is an option, informed consent should require an invasive procedure. Along with Rick Santorum’s Taliban views, Mitt Romney suggested in an interview on Tuesday with a St. Louis TV station that to help balance the federal budget he would eliminate Planned Parenthood funding: “We’re going to get rid of that.”
A complete text of Secretary Clinton’s remarks is available at the Department of State’s website, and the complete video is below:
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