If You Value Life, You Can’t Support Hillary Clinton

As I was scrolling through my social media feed, I was confronted with the picture of an actress wearing a shirt emblazoned with the repeated word “abortion” spaced by little hearts. In a culture built on irony, I had to be sure that this wasn’t a crass attempt at subversive humor. It wasn’t. Scandalized by the existence of such a shirt, I went to Google to find out how one was even able to get a shirt like this.

I wish I’d never typed “abortion t-shirt” into the search bar.

The first shirt available to me reads, “abortion sends babies to God faster.” The next says, “I Heart Abortion.” A third features a picture of a wire coat-hanger and encourages the banning of abortion for the economic boost coat-hanger factories would receive. The most famous is the one worn by feminist icon Gloria Steinam and other actresses; the shirt states simply and proudly, “I had an abortion.”

The conversation has shifted. The pro-choice lobby used to view abortion as a necessary evil, a sad thing that was necessary in order to protect women and give them equal reproductive rights. The goal, even by those on the left, was to educate women and men about the importance of sexual sanity and safety so that the number of abortions would decline. But now the pro-choice lobby has taken on a new tone, one different than that of even liberal leaders like President Obama.

In 2009, President Obama assigned a task force to investigate ways to make abortion rarer in the United States. This was announced during his 100-day anniversary news conference. That was seven years ago.

Here’s the President on the 2011 anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision:

“I am committed to protecting this constitutional right (to legally access an abortion). I also remain committed to policies, initiatives, and programs that help prevent unintended pregnancies, support pregnant women and mothers, encourage healthy relationships, and promote adoption.”

While I disagree with the President’s support of the Roe v. Wade decision, it is important to note that he couched his support in the context of a commitment to “policies, initiatives, and programs that help prevent unintended pregnancies.” That was five years ago.

Now, here’s Presidential hopeful and leading Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in a video produced while running for President in support of the nation’s largest abortion provider:

It’s true that Planned Parenthood offers inexpensive birth control and provides access to health care for many poor women in our nation’s cities. But that’s not why Hillary was making the video. She didn’t make it just to tout their birth control options. She made the video after Planned Parenthood was found to be selling harvested fetal tissue for profit. The country was understandably disturbed and outraged and Clinton joined the “Stand with Planned Parenthood” campaign to help do damage control.

This isn’t a rarity for Mrs. Clinton. In a speech given to the Women in the World Conference last year, Secretary Clinton went so far as to say that “deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs, and structural biases have to be changed” in order to ensure the right to abortion for all women around the globe. Your religious objections based on two millennia of Christian teaching would need to bow to the pro-Planned Parenthood, abortion-celebrating leaders of the pro-choice movement who have removed any veneer of respect for the unborn.

Perhaps such a statement can seem extreme. On the surface, there doesn’t appear to be much of a change between President Obama’s position and that of Mrs. Clinton.

There is a marked shift in the rhetoric surrounding the issue, however. Language itself is being challenged and changed. In an article in Salon last year, Valerie Tarico made it clear that she’s not just pro-choice, she’s pro-abortion because she cares about children and takes motherhood seriously. You can’t make this up. Another commentator bemoaned the ending of China’s controversial one-child policy and argued that the United States and other countries should implement the policy themselves.

Is it fair to lump Mrs. Clinton in with these commentators? I think so. In a Buzzfeed article published at the end of January, abortion rights activists commented that they were excited about the prospects of a Clinton presidency and what it would mean for the pro-abortion lobby. The thing that excites them most about Clinton: her language. From the Buzzfeed article written by Evan McMorris Santoro:

“Clinton, they say, is more aggressive in her calls to expand abortion access, and that means a future in which Democrats no longer tip-toe around the issue. No more hopes that abortions are “legal, safe and rare” (as Clinton said in July in an interview with a New Hampshire newspaper) or suggestions that abortion is “a difficult and painful choice” (as Sanders said in a September speech at Liberty University). Abortion rights activists are aiming for a future in which they can de-stigmatize abortion and make expanded, inexpensive access to it a core tenet of American progressive politics.”

The article also includes an interview with Islye Hogue, President of pro-abortion group NARAL (the same group who lashed out at Doritos for presuming to “humanize” a fetus in a Super Bowl commercial) in which, according to the reporter, she “said Clinton has been more forceful about her desire to get rid of Hyde this cycle, a shift in rhetoric that is necessary to move Democrats into a place where they can get it done.” (The Hyde Amendment ensures that federal dollars cannot fund abortions.)

Hillary Clinton has become the champion of those moving beyond pro-choice into the rhetoric of pro-abortion.

This is a distressing change of tactic. No longer are we debating the most effective way to lessen the amount of abortions occurring in the United States every year. The pro-choice party line that abortion was a last resort to be considered somberly has been replaced by rhetoric that less than ten years ago was relegated to the extreme corners of public life — that abortion is now a moral good.

Christians don’t have the ability to remain silent on this issue. There are believers who disagree when life begins. Many say conception. Others say life begins with the first fetal heartbeat (around the fifth week; when the baby is about the size of a tip of a pen). For the sake of this conversation, however, we are in agreement: we believe that God creates all people in the image of God and therefore gives every person worth and dignity. That dignity must be protected whether the person has been born or not. Once that heart starts beating, there is no doubt — There is a living human being growing in her mother that needs to be protected, loved, and given the dignity required of all human persons.

Psalm 139 speaks directly to the in utero work of our Creator in lovingly crafting each and every person into his image. “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Abortion kills the life God has created with love and common grace. Abortion shows disdain for the worth of all people who have been made in the image of God (Gen. 1:27). Abortion disregards the value of people who have been carefully knitted together by the hands of God.

So how can Christians support a candidate who champions the pro-abortion plank of her party? Clinton doesn’t downplay this Democratic ideal; she runs toward it with abandon, propping up Planned Parenthood and decrying any common-sense abortion restrictions as anti-woman. She demonizes the efforts of people with religious conviction as kooks who need to change their ways or get out of the way. And her radical shift in rhetoric is encouraging the most extreme voices of the pro-abortion lobby.

As the country is starting to shift in a pro-life direction and as states do the hard work of standing against the abortion industry, the pro-choice lobby becomes louder, more desperate, and bolder. Hillary Clinton is one of their greatest champions. Christian, if you value life, if you are sensitive to God’s call to protect those who are unwanted and disregarded by society (Gen 21:8-21; Deut 10:18), then you will find yourself unable to support Secretary Clinton for President. In fact, you must oppose her policies and cannot give her your support by voting for her.

Marcos Ortega

Marcos Ortega (MDiv, Westminster Theological Seminary) is an Assistant Pastor at Goodwill Church (Evangelical Presbyterian Church) and lives in the Hudson River Valley in New York with his wife and two daughters.

7 thoughts on “If You Value Life, You Can’t Support Hillary Clinton

  • March 19, 2016 at 8:55 am

    Normally, I would be (possibly sinfully) reluctant to share my thoughts on a topic such as this but David Cheng and Andrew Ong seem to encourage dialogue so here it goes.

    I think the most obvious criticism of your piece is that you quote a Buzzfeed article to support your claims. Respectfully, I think this is just flat-out wrong. You quote the article’s writer who speculates that Hilary’s presidency will result in abortions becoming de-stigmatized in our society but that very article contradicts Hilary’s words that that very writer quotes in the line (which leaves me incredulous). So Hilary describes her hope for abortions to be “legal, safe and rare,” which leads to the writer and/or her followers to assume that Hilary wants abortion to become de-stigmatized and prevalent in society? If you want to attribute her supporters’ beliefs onto her, then you must similarly attribute the Ku Klux Klan’s beliefs onto the GOP candidate (they have came out in support of the GOP). Ultimately if Hilary says she wants abortions to be “legal, safe and rare” (which is language similar to Obama’s words that you somewhat support), you can believe her or you can be cynical and not believe her but those are her words.

    You also mention the Planned Parenthood videos in passing. To set the record straight, there have been plenty of investigations (typically in socially conservative states) that have found that there was no evidence of any wrongdoing and that the videos were heavily edited and doctored to rouse the anger of uninformed conservatives. If you don’t trust conservative governmental bodies, how about an impartial jury (in the super conservative state of Texas) which found that the videos distorted the truth. I’m not naive enough to suggest that every single Planned Parenthood official behaves ethically or follows the rules. I do believe that, in all probability, the majority of them follow procedures.

    Regarding Hilary’s video, she released it in support of Planned Parenthood in the midst of people looking to defund it due to those doctored videos. I find issue when you say that Hilary didn’t do it because of the other services they provide but because of her support for abortion. Sure, the direct cause was the outrage over the videos and so she released it to mention her support of Planned Parenthood but more than anything her support of Planned Parenthood is due to those other services that you glossed over. Abortions make up just 3% of Planned Parenthood’s activities. Yes, Hilary wants to provide access to abortions (though, as she said, she wants them to be rare). But she also wants Planned Parenthood to continue to be funded to provide the other services generally considered “good” by most people. And Obama had vetoed a bill to defund Planned Parenthood in January for the same reasons.

    Lastly, at the end of the day, I do not believe abortion is a presidential issue. Politically, abortion is a state right and states set the specific laws in place as to when abortions can and can’t take place. It’s comical (and sad) at this point when Christians talk about how we have to elect a Republican president to nominate a Supreme Court justice who will “overturn Roe v. Wade.” Hilary is far from a perfect candidate but I just don’t think her views on abortion should be dispositive of any election decision.

    • March 19, 2016 at 9:13 am


      Thanks for your thoughts! I appreciate you taking the time to interact here. I’ll respond to a couple points.

      First, Buzzfeed is not normally a source I would lean on but the article contained credible interviews with important leaders of the pro-abortion lobby. The acivists are willing to put their support behind Clinton because of her recent rhetoric surrounding the issue, which isn’t the speculation of the author as much as it is the logical conclusion gleaned form the statements of abortion activists themselves. So while much of Buzzfeed isn’t newsworthy, the Buzzfeed News section lines up closely with sites like Huffington Post.

      As for the Planned Parenthood videos, there has been some controversy surrounding the means by which the videos were obtained, granted. And I also grant that what Planned Parenthood did fell within the confines of the law. Which is why the laws need to be changed. This isn’t about illegality but morality. Late-term abortion is legal in many places but I would still see that as morally problematic. Legality doesn’t define morality for Christians.

      I must disagree that abortion is not “a presidential issue.” The President has a lot of power when it comes to shaping national conversation, not to mention the ability to vetoing bills with riders like the Hyde Amendment and the immense power of choosing judges for major federal courts. I normally would agree with you; Republicans have had a terrible record of preaching a pro-life message and then doing very little when they get elected. But things may be changing on that front. Twelve conservative state legislatures have passed 20-week abortion bans. Others are closing abortion clinics that aren’t close enough to a hospital. Still others are pushing for parental consent laws. Most of these are being challenged in federal courts (which is why the President matters) but conservatives seem to be mobilizing. I think we should get behind that effort.

      Finally, please don’t read this article as placing support behind another candidate. My next post will be taking aim at the rhetoric and “policies” of Donald Trump. I’ll also be questioning how beholden the church seems to be to the political process in the first place. Do Christians have to vote even when there is no candidate they can support? Should we really stoop to the level of choosing “the lesser of two evils?” I hope to discuss all these things over the next few weeks. I hope you keep reading!

      Thanks again for commenting! Feel free to comment again!

  • March 19, 2016 at 11:14 am

    Respectfully, I just don’t think it is very fair to blame Hilary for the beliefs of some of her supporters if it contradicts her own words.

    I wasn’t very clear with this second point and so my apologies. I wasn’t suggesting that Planned Parenthood was fine just because it was found to be doing legal things. I was more taking issue (and I didn’t flesh this out, I hadn’t had my second cup of coffee yet!) with the wording of saying that “Planned Parenthood was found to be selling harvested fetal tissue for profit.” I think the use of language is there is both inflammatory and frankly inaccurate.

    Third, as you mentioned, those decisions are being made at the state legislature level. You can’t really quantify “influence” but I do think it’s dubious to suggest that having a pro-life or pro-choice President influences states at that level. With all the opposition Obama faced these past 8 years, you can even (correctly) argue that certain Presidents can cause issues to lose traction based on their positions. Moreover, with regards to the federal courts issue, I think most people without legal backgrounds cynically oversimplify the role of the judiciary. A “conservative” justice won’t rule a pro-life ruling in the upcoming Supreme Court case based on his or her feelings about abortion. The issues of that case (and all other abortion cases post-Roe v. Wade) won’t be decided on pro-life vs pro-choice grounds. I think it’s important to note that a “conservative” justice is different from a “conservative” president. Remember, Roe v. Wade was decided 7-2 by a “conservative” court. (As an aside, it would ironically take a super liberal Supreme Court to “overturn” Roe v. Wade). We’ve had a historically conservative Supreme Court for decades now who have ruled on abortion cases and abortion is never an issue. The idea that the next President’s pick (or Garland) will substantially impact abortion in America is a big misconception in my opinion.

    Lastly, I figured as much and didn’t want to go into the various other significant issues deserving of conversation.

    • March 19, 2016 at 1:29 pm

      Dan, thanks for continuing the conversation

      When a candidate doesn’t denounce radical voices who think you’re in the same camp as them, it’s a major issue. This is why it was okay to fault Trump for not denouncing the KKK, for example. As for your distinction between conservative judges and conservative politicians, you’re right, there’s a difference. However we define the terms, however, Presidents tend to nominate judges based on how they line up on significant social issues. This is why President Obama nominated two “liberal” judges in Kagan and Sotomyor. That’s a significant power. I’d be stunned if the President nominated against his values on an issue as important as abortion.

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