By Dave Andrusko
We wrote yesterday about a comically inept piece that appeared in The Atlantic which purports to demonstrate that Hillary Clinton has “Moral Conflicts on Abortion.”
Julia Duin, formerly of the Washington Times, now writes for the outstanding site, GetReligion.org. She took on the same piece and wrote a gentle but devastating rebuttal.
In the mid-1990s (while Clinton was First Lady), Duin heard Clinton talk on many occasions about abortion. “She never sounded conflicted to me” on abortion.
The drift of Myriam Renaud’s argument is, “For the most part, Clinton’s stance matches the official stance of the United Methodist Church, or UMC – the tradition in which she was raised and remains a faithful member.” The “out” for Clinton–making any suggestion she might respect any limitation on abortion invalid–is the “health” exception.
At this point I can tell that this reporter is a total neophyte on this issue. The health exception has been termed a loophole big enough to drive a Mack truck through, which is to say that, in practice, there is no restriction on abortion up to the moment of birth.
Duin notes that Renaud either didn’t know, or didn’t bother to catch up on the United Methodist Church’s shift on abortion. “Among other things, the United Methodist Church terminated its involvement in a religious abortion rights group it helped found in 1973. It also revoked its support for Roe vs. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion,” Duin writes.
And it’s easy to soften, add qualifications, shave off the corners of Clinton’s hard-edge abortion advocacy when, as Duin observes, Renaud ignores pro-life Methodists. Incredibly Renaud went back to Clinton’s youth pastor and gynecologist and then proceeded to repeat “the talking points of Clinton’s allies.”
Which includes omitting Clinton’s opposition to a ban on partial-birth abortions or a laundry list of other hard-line abortion positions.
Duin ends with a few well chosen comments on Renaud’s conclusion which ends (as the story began) with a complete ignorance of Clinton’s race to the far-end of the far-end of abortion advocacy. First
Was the goal of this article to debate whether this candidate feels “ambivalence” about the moral status of abortion? It would appear not. That would require actual reporting, which is what this piece sorely lacks.
And then something I missed which captured how completely frozen in time Renaud’s outdated piece was. Duin writes
One strange side note, in conclusion: There are tons of current photos available of Hillary Clinton from this campaign. I wonder why The Atlantic editors elected to use a picture of her from almost a quarter century ago, taken during an event that had nothing to do with her Methodist faith?