Rep. Smith asked Clinton to respond to Sanger's views about the "deterioration in the human stock" and "the perpetuation of defectives, delinquents and dependents." As Goldberg has observed, conservatives are always asked to "own" their intellectual forebears and to disavow that which requires disavowal. Yet liberals skate by without having to distance themselves from the dreadful opinions and writings of their heroes and heroines.
The secretary did not respond directly. She chose not to defend Sanger at all. Instead, she spoke of the suffering women that she had seen 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. I've been in African countries where 12- and 13-year-old girls are bearing children." I've asked the State Department to identify the Brazilian hospital to which Clinton was referring. They have yet to get back to me. As for children bearing children in Africa -- obviously birth control is necessary in poor countries, but is she really suggesting that cultures abusive enough to permit the marriage of very young girls would be open to providing them with birth control? It's like suggesting that the solution to wife beating is get men to wear boxing gloves.
Clinton then, in good Obamanista fashion, offered a gratuitous swipe at the Bush administration. "During my time as First Lady I helped to create the Campaign Against Teenage Pregnancy ... and ... the rate of teen pregnancy went down. I'm sad to report that after an administration of eight years that undid so much of the good work, the rate of teenage pregnancy is going up."
Politicians always simplify, but this is truly ludicrous. Teen pregnancy down under the Clintons but then up under Bush? Sorry, the statistics do not reflect that. According to the Guttmacher Institute (the research arm of Planned Parenthood), teen pregnancy reached an all-time high in 1988 and 1989 and began trending down thereafter, reaching its lowest recent point in 2005 -- past the midpoint of the Bush years. It has been going up since then.
Part of Clinton's solution is to promote abortion, which she calls "women's reproductive health care." Anyone for a small irony? Margaret Sanger hated abortion and called abortionists "blood sucking men with M.D. after their names." Perhaps someone can ask Secretary Clinton about that at the next hearing.