Sen. Hillary Clinton’s RH Issues Questionnaire


In October, RH Reality Check developed a questionnaire for the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates, designed to help our readers compare the various contenders' positions on sexual and reproductive health and rights — beyond the sole issue of abortion. Our questions were designed to get under the surface of the candidates' rhetoric on reproductive rights and clarify how far each one was willing to go to support concrete policy changes to back up his or her stated beliefs. Sen. Hillary Clinton's campaign staff answers Andrea Lynch's questions below.

Why do you consider Sen. Clinton to be the strongest candidate on reproductive health and rights?

When it comes to each woman's ability to make the most personal of life decisions, Hillary Clinton is a leader. She has stood firm as an advocate for a woman's right to choose and has worked to expand access to family planning services. As First Lady, she went to Beijing and declared that "human rights are women's rights and women's rights are human rights," and as Senator, she has consistently stood up for women's reproductive health and rights.

Throughout her time in the Senate, she has consistently spoken out against relentless efforts by the right wing to rollback women's access to the full range of reproductive health care services. She opposed the nominations of Justices Alito and Roberts, declaring that they represented the gravest threat to Roe v. Wade in history, and she condemned the Supreme Court's April 2007 decision to allow the government to dictate to women what they can and cannot do about their own health.

Senator Clinton has supported every pro-choice bill introduced and voted on since she came into the Senate. She opposed the so-called "partial birth abortion" bill; the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, which was designed to define a fetus as a person in order to lay the groundwork for overturning Roe v. Wade; the Child Custody Protection Act, which would have made it a crime to accompany young woman across state lines for abortion care; and the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act, which would impose a new, complex, national patchwork of parental notice mandates on doctors and young women. She has also co-sponsored legislation to repeal the global gag rule imposed by President Bush, which has resulted in the closure of multiple health clinics in the developing world, reductions in the number of community health workers providing outreach in rural areas, and contraceptive shortages in the countries most in need of family planning services.

Senator Clinton has been a strong leader in advancing women's health and well-being. As First Lady, she helped found the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, which has helped achieve a one-third reduction in teen pregnancy between 1996 and 2005. Working with Senator Patty Murray, she helped lead a three-year effort to make "Plan B" emergency contraception,also known as the "morning after" pill, available over the counter. She also sponsored the Prevention First Act, which expands access to family planning services for low-income women, requires health insurance companies to cover contraception, and provides a dedicated funding stream for age-appropriate, medically accurate, comprehensive sex education. Senator Clinton introduced the Compassionate Assistance for Rape Emergencies (CARE) Act, which would ensure that survivors of sexual assault and rape receive necessary medical care, including emergency contraception such as Plan B, and the Compassionate Care for Servicewomen Act, which would ensure that servicewomen have access to Plan B at military health care facilities. She also co-sponsored legislation to establish an Emergency Contraception Public Education Campaign through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

She has also supported legislation to restore access to privately funded abortion services for U.S. servicewomen and military dependents in overseas military health facilities; lift the ban on international non-governmental organizations that provide to women information on family planning services; prohibit violent protestors, such as anti-abortion activists, from escaping court-ordered fines or judgments by filing for bankruptcy protection; and prohibit funding for federal employee health plans that refuse to provide contraceptive coverage.

In short, Senator Clinton has fought for women's rights for her entire career. She has been a leader on reproductive health care issues in the Senate, and she will remain committed to them when she is President.

What sets Sen. Clinton's platform apart from the other contenders on issues of reproductive health and rights?

Senator Clinton has been a consistent advocate for women's reproductive health and rights, and she will carry this commitment to the White House as a leader on behalf of all women. When she is President, she will nominate Supreme Court Justices and other federal court judges who believe that the Constitution protects a woman's right to privacy. Senator Clinton knows that reproductive health care is an important part of any woman's overall health, which is why she will ensure that reproductive health care will be part of her plan to provide health care to every single American. As a part of her plan to fight cancer, Senator Clinton has committed to increasing access to screening tools and she has said she will fully fund the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program. When she is President, she will continue to strongly support increased funding for Medicaid and Title X, which provide federal funding for family planning and reproductive health care services. She will also work to sign into law the Prevention First Act, which provides federal funding for comprehensive, medically accurate sex education; provides for equitable coverage of contraception among private plans; and expands access to information about emergency contraception. Senator Clinton has been a leading advocate for women throughout her life, and her policy proposals and platform reflect that dedication.

How does Sen. Clinton's health care plan specifically address sexual and reproductive health, family planning, pregnancy, HIV/AIDS, and other STDs?

Senator Clinton's health care plan provides guaranteed, affordable, high-quality health care for every single American. It allows those who like their current plans to keep them and provides a new menu of quality health insurance options, including a public plan modeled after Medicare, for those who are dissatisfied with their coverage or don't have any. This Health Choices Menu would include the high-quality plans offered to Members of Congress through the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program. Her health care plan will ensure that all Americans living with HIV/AIDS have access to care and will end insurance discrimination against those with pre-existing conditions, such as HIV/AIDS. Senator Clinton's plan to fight HIV/AIDS includes doubling the HIV/AIDS research budget within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to $5.2 billion annually, including the U.S. contribution toward finding a vaccine. To address the disproportionate burden of HIV/AIDS on minority communities, Senator Clinton will increase funding for the Minority AIDS Initiative and support the prevention and treatment efforts of minority-run community based organizations. Her plan also increases federal funding for substance abuse treatment. She has also committed to providing at least $50 billion over five years to combat HIV/AIDS around the world. This commitment will establish the United States as a leader in galvanizing the global community around meeting the Millennium Development Goal of halting and beginning to reverse the spread of HIV and other diseases by 2015. She will lead the world in achieving universal access to treatment by doubling the number of people that the United States supports with treatment. The Clinton plan will increase the number of healthworkers in training or in place in Africa by at least one million over a decade and ensure access to medications for all.

Does Sen. Clinton support comprehensive sexuality education? Does she believe that the federal government should continue to fund abstinence-only-until marriage programs, despite evidence that they are ineffective at preventing unintended pregnancy and STDs?

Senator Clinton introduced legislation to provide federal funding for comprehensive, medically accurate, age-appropriate sex education. She believes that abstinence-only programs have not been shown to be effective, and, as President, she would support programs that send a strong message to young people that they should delay sexual activity while giving them the information they need to make responsible decisions and protect themselves.

Does Sen. Clinton support adolescents' access to confidential family planning and reproductive health services, without having to seek permission from their parents? Why or why not?

Yes. Senator Clinton supports access to confidential health care for all Americans. She believes families should be involved in any life decision involving their daughter, but recognizes that in some cases, that type of involvement is neither healthy nor appropriate.

Does Sen. Clinton believe that contraception should be covered by private insurance plans and under insurance plans for federal employees? Why or why not?

Senator Clinton has been a strong supporter of the Equity in Prescription Insurance and Contraceptive Coverage Act, which would require private health plans to cover FDA-approved prescription contraceptives and related medical services to the same extent that they cover prescription drugs and other outpatient medical services. This bill seeks to establish parity for prescription contraception. She has also co-sponsored legislation to prohibit funding for federal employee health plans that refuse to provide contraceptive coverage. And she cosponsored the Prevention Through Affordable Access Act to correct a provision included in the Deficit Reduction Act of 2006 that cuts off every college and university health clinic and hundreds of safety net providers from being able to offer affordable contraceptives to students and lower income women.

Does Sen. Clinton agree with the FDA's decision to make emergency contraception over the counter for people 18 and over? Does she think adolescents should be able to access emergency contraception over the counter as well? Why or why not?

Senator Clinton led a three-year fight to pressure the FDA to make a decision on Barr Pharmaceutical's application to sell Plan B over the counter, and she was pleased when the decision was made to approve the application, in line with the overwhelming consensus of the research community that the drug was safe and effective for over the counter use and the recommendation of every major health care organization. At the time of the decision, she urged
the FDA to revisit placing age restrictions on the sale of Plan B, and still believes that it is the path we ought to take. She agrees with the American Academy of Pediatrics' recommendation that emergency contraception is safe and effective, can help to prevent unintended pregnancy among teenagers, and should not be confused with mifepristone.

Does Sen. Clinton support any restrictions on abortion, or does she believe it should be entirely up to women?

Senator Clinton believes abortion should be safe, legal, and rare. She has worked throughout her career to accomplish that goal by working to reduce the teen pregnancy rate and providing greater access to family planning. She strongly opposed the so-called "partial birth abortion" bill when it was considered by the Senate. She supported an alternative bill that, consistent with Roe v. Wade, would have prohibited post-viability abortions except when, in the medical judgment of an attending physician, abortion is necessary to preserve the life or health of the woman.

Does Sen. Clinton support the Hyde amendment? Under what circumstances does she believe that Medicaid should cover abortions (all pregnancies, life- or health- threatening pregnancies, pregnancies that are a result of rape or incest, extreme fetal malformation)?

No. Senator Clinton does not support the Hyde amendment. She believes low-income women should have access to the full range of reproductive health care services.

Does Sen. Clinton believe adolescents should have the right to choose abortion, or should they be required to seek their parents' consent? Why or why not? Are there any circumstances that might make a compelling case for waiving the parental consent requirement?

Senator Clinton believes families should be involved in any life decision involving their daughter, but recognizes that in some cases that type of involvement is neither healthy nor appropriate. She does not believe the federal government can dictate healthy families. That is why she supports New York State law that does not require parental consent for minors. In states where that is not attainable, she supports judicial bypass provisions.

Does Sen. Clinton support continuing federal funding for crisis pregnancy centers? Why or why not?

No. She does not support federal funding for programs that misrepresent facts in order to further a political agenda.

If elected president, what specific measures would Sen. Clinton support for women who choose to become mothers (prenatal care, maternity leave, childcare, healthcare for children)?

Ensuring guaranteed, affordable, high-quality health care for all Americans will be Senator Clinton's top domestic priority. She was instrumental in creating the Children's Health Insurance Program, which provides health care for six million children today, and she has fought for 15 years to expand access to quality care. Her health care plan will provide access to critical services like prenatal care. She has put forth a bold plan to provide paid leave for new parents and caregivers by 2016, expand the Family and Medical Leave Act to include 13 million new workers, and end pregnancy discrimination. She is also the lead sponsor of legislation to ensure equal pay for women. (Please visit here and here for more information about Senator Clinton's plans.)

Does Sen. Clinton believe that gay and lesbian couples should be able to adopt children?

Yes.

If elected president, would Sen. Clinton overturn the Global Gag Rule or reinstate funding for UNFPA?

Yes. Overturning the Global Gag Rule and reinstating funding for UNFPA would be among her highest priorities. Senator Clinton has said overturning the gag rule would be one of her first acts as President.

See Sen. Barack Obama's and former Sen. John Edward's answers to the same questionnaire. Despite repeated attempts, the GOP candidates have yet to respond to our questions, but we did some research for them. Check out all of our Election 2008 Coverage!

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To schedule an interview with contact director of communications Rachel Perrone at rachel@rhrealitycheck.org.

  • http://www.cs.man.ac.uk/~bparsia/ invalid-0

    I’m glad you are doing this important work.

    However, you may want to expand your questionnaire a little to cover woman’s issues stemming from US immigration policy. Even if one is skeptical about the reported level’s of rape at the border, it is important to think about these issues and investigate them carefully. Clearly, immigration policy has enormous effects on the health and reproductive health of immigrant women. (The rape issue is just so stark and heart breaking, but other issues spring to mind like the access to abortion and family planning services, not to mention general health care.) If Clinton is “a leader on behalf of all women”, shouldn’t she be a leader on the behalf of immigrant women as well?

  • emily-douglas

    Thank you for this excellent comment, Bijan. We are currently planning a feature that will investigate how immigration issues intersect with sexual and reproductive health and rights issues, particularly looking at the way in which immigration is playing out as an issue in the 2008 presidential election and adding an SRH lens to the discussion. So I think we’ll soon be including some of the information and analysis you are seeking. Thanks very much for your input — it’s helping shape our coverage!

  • http://www.cs.man.ac.uk/~bparsia/ invalid-0

    First, I need to make clear that I did not author the post I pointed to, brownfemipower did. So all credit to her, please! Her blog is an invaluable resource.

    Second, thanks for responding so positively. I look forward to this expanded coverage.

  • invalid-0

    How nice it will be to have a woman in the Whitehouse whom we can count on to stand up for the right of every one of us to control our own bodies. Hillary’s positions on this issue are exactly right- as a young voter I’m voting for the woman who said “Women’s Rights are Human Rights”.

  • invalid-0

    Great work! I must say too, that Hillary is in a unique position to continue working with people on both sides of the aisle, even though she clearly stands her ground as being staunchly pro-choice. Hillary’s work has helped lower the number of abortions in the US while keeping the option available as much as possible. She spoke against China’s cruel forced abortions for population control in her famous “Women’s rights are Human Rights” speech addressing the UN in Beijing in 1995. Clearly, she has the potential to bring people who oppose abortion to sit down and work toward a common goal of planned families.

  • invalid-0

    This is excellent. Who is better to stand up for reproductive rights than a woman? Hillary’s stance on these issues is admirable, and she’s fought for them all of her adult life. This alone should be enough for any woman to support her candidacy.

    Clinton ’08!

  • invalid-0

    I am very excited about Hillary! There is no better candidate on a woman’s rights than her. As a young supporter, I am proud to say I will cast my first vote for Hillary Clinton in November! Ms. Lynch, thanks for going so in-depth on this crucial issue.

  • invalid-0

    Published on Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org (http://www.rhrealitycheck.org)
    Sen. Barack Obama’s RH Issues Questionnaire
    By Andrea Lynch
    Created Dec 21 2007 – 9:18am
    In October, RH Reality Check developed a questionnaire for the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates, designed to help our readers distinguish between the various contenders’ positions on sexual and reproductive health 1 and rights — beyond the sole issue of abortion. Our questions were designed to get under the surface of the candidates’ rhetoric on reproductive rights 2 and clarify how far each one was willing to go to support concrete policy changes to back up his or her stated beliefs. Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign staff answers Andrea Lynch’s questions below.

    Why do you consider Sen. Obama to be the strongest candidate on reproductive health and rights?

    Throughout his career, Senator Obama has consistently championed a woman’s right to choose, earning him 100% ratings from pro-choice groups during his tenure in the Illinois State Senate and the United States Senate. In 2005, he was the honorary chair of Planned Parenthood of Chicago Area’s Roe v. Wade celebration. And he has not shied away from tough battles. In the Illinois State Senate, Obama worked hand-in-hand with advocacy groups to protect women’s reproductive health.

    And just last year, Obama was the only U.S. Senator who supported a fundraising initiative to defeat a proposed abortion ban in South Dakota. And Senator Obama was the only presidential candidate to weigh in on the controversy surrounding the opening of the Planned Parenthood clinic in Aurora.

    What sets Sen. Obama’s platform apart from the other contenders on issues of reproductive health and rights?

    Senator Obama has demonstrated an ability to engage diverse audiences in talking about these issues in an effort to forge consensus. For instance, in December 2006, Obama went to “the political equivalent of the lion’s den” when he told a conservative Christian audience in Southern California that abstinence-only education was not enough and that he “respectfully but unequivocally” disagrees with those who oppose condom distribution to fight the AIDS pandemic.” Obama drew a standing ovation from the 2,072 pastors and others who came from 39 states and 18 nations.

    Similarly, this year at a Planned Parenthood conference, Obama emphasized the need for pro-choice groups to align themselves with religious and community groups that are also working on reducing unintended pregnancy. Obama has also focused on the high teen pregnancy rate. In addition to co-sponsoring the Prevention First Act, Obama has introduced a bill that would devote resources to combating the high teen pregnancy rate in communities of color.

    How does Sen. Obama’s healthcare plan specifically address sexual and reproductive health, family planning 3, pregnancy, HIV/AIDS, and other STDs?

    Senator Obama believes that reproductive health care 4 is basic health care. His health care plan will create a new public plan, which will provide coverage of all essential medical services. Reproductive health care is an essential service – just like mental health care and disease management and other preventive services under his plan.

    And private insurers that want to participate will have to treat reproductive care in the same way.

    Does Sen. Obama support comprehensive sexuality education? Does he believe that the federal government should continue to fund abstinence-only-until marriage programs, despite evidence that they are ineffective at preventing unintended pregnancy and STDs?

    Yes, Senator Obama supports comprehensive sex education 5. He believes that we should not continue to fund abstinence-only programs. Over the last decade, the federal government has spent $1.5 billion in taxpayer dollars on “abstinence-only” programs that have not been successful. While abstinence is one approach to reducing unintended pregnancies and STDs, Obama believes we should also support comprehensive and age-appropriate sex education. Obama is an original co-sponsor of the Prevention First Act, which will ensure that all taxpayer-funded federal programs are medically accurate and include information about contraception.

    Does Sen. Obama support adolescents’ access to confidential family planning and reproductive health services, without having to seek permission from their parents? Why or why not?

    Yes. As the father of two daughters, Senator Obama understands that parents do not want to imagine their teenage child might need to seek counsel on reproductive health. He believes, first and foremost, that parents should be the first and primary source of support. But Obama also recognizes that not every child is in a loving home with a parent or trusted adult to turn to in such a situation. For young women in such circumstances, Obama wants to be sure that there is access to a trained health care provider that can provide needed services or help them make good decisions.

    Does Sen. Obama believe that contraception should be covered by private insurance plans and under insurance plans for federal employees? Why or why not?

    Yes.

    Does Sen. Obama agree with the FDA’s decision to make emergency contraception over the counter for people 18 and over? Does he think adolescents should be able to access emergency contraception 6 over the counter as well? Why or why not?

    Senator Obama supports the FDA’s decision to make emergency contraception (EC 7) available over the counter for people 18 and over. Obama recognizes that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and other medical experts have reported that EC use is safe for women of all reproductive age and have called for improved access to EC. Although Obama strongly believes that parents or other trusted adults should be engaged in all reproductive health decisions involving teenagers and adolescents, he also recognizes that not every young women has access to such support. As such, he does believe that teenagers should be able to access EC over the counter. As noted above, he supports the right of adolescents to seek confidential family planning services.

    Does Sen. Obama support any restrictions on abortion, or does he believe it should be entirely up to women?

    Obama supports those restrictions that are consistent with the legal framework outlined by the Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade.

    Does Sen. Obama support the Hyde amendment? Under what circumstances does he believe that Medicaid should cover abortions (all pregnancies, life- or health-threatening pregnancies, pregnancies that are a result of rape or incest, extreme fetal malformation)?

    Obama does not support the Hyde amendment. He believes that the federal government should not use its dollars to intrude on a poor woman’s decision whether to carry to term or to terminate her pregnancy and selectively withhold benefits because she seeks to exercise her right of reproductive choice in a manner the government disfavors.

    Does Sen. Obama believe adolescents should have the right to choose abortion, or should they be required to seek their parents’ consent? Why or why not? Are there any circumstances that might make a compelling case for waiving the parental consent requirement?

    As a parent, Obama believes that young women, if they become pregnant, should talk to their parents before considering an abortion. But he realizes not all girls can turn to their mother or father in times of trouble, and in those instances, we should want these girls to seek the advice of trusted adults – an aunt, a grandmother, a pastor.

    Unfortunately, instead of encouraging pregnant teens to seek the advice of adults, most parental consent bills that come before Congress or state legislatures criminalize adults who attempt to help a young woman in need and lack judicial bypass and other provisions that would permit exceptions in compelling cases.

    Does Sen. Obama support continuing federal funding for crisis pregnancy centers? Why or why not?

    No.

    If elected president, what specific measures would Sen. Obama support for women who choose to become mothers (prenatal care, maternity leave, childcare, healthcare for children)?

    Under Obama’s health care plan, women will be able to receive coverage of prenatal care under the new public health plan. And participating private insurers will be required to provide the same coverage.

    Obama has proposed a $1.5 billion fund to encourage all fifty states to adopt paid leave programs. Under these programs, women would be entitled to take paid maternity leave.

    Does Sen. Obama believe that gay and lesbian couples should be able to adopt children?

    Yes.

    If elected president, would Sen. Obama overturn the Global Gag Rule or reinstate funding for UNFPA?

    Yes, Senator Obama would overturn the global gag rule and reinstate funding for UNFPA.

    Want More? We’ve Got It!

    Check out Sen. John Edwards 8’s and Sen. Hillary Clinton’s 9 completed questionnaire.
    10

    Read the statement from Sen. Chris Dodd 11’s campaign.

    What about the Democratic contenders who didn’t respond to our questionnaire? We did their homework for them, mining through their previous public statements to find their positions, right here 12.

    And the Republicans? Concrete information on the Republican candidates’ positions and commitments on reproductive health and rights is harder to come by, since their websites generally only include information about the issue of abortion. But here 13’s what we were able to come up with.

    ——————————————————————————–

    Source URL:
    http://www.rhrealitycheck.org//blog/2007/12/21/sen-barack-obamas-reproductive-health-questionnaire
    Links:
    1 http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/glossary%23Reproductive+Health
    2 http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/glossary%23Reproductive%2520Rights
    3 http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/glossary%23Family+Planning
    4 http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/glossary%23Reproductive+Health+Care
    5 http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/glossary%23Comprehensive+Sex+Education
    6 http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/glossary%23Emergency+Contraception
    7 http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/glossary%23EC
    8 http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/2007/12/21/john-edwardss-reproductive-health-questionnaire
    9 http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/2008/01/15/sen-hillary-clintons-rh-issues-questionnaire
    10 http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/2007/12/21/john-edwardss-reproductive-health-questionnaire
    11 http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/2007/12/21/sen-chris-dodds-statement-on-reproductive-health-issues
    12 http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/2007/12/21/other-democratic-contenders-on-reproductive-health
    13 http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/2007/12/21/republican-presidential-contenders-on-reproductive-health