If we're to believe the pundits, after respective crushing wins this past Tuesday each party's presidential candidate is now inevitable. This means, of course, that we can now look forward to the bizarro world scenario of reality show star Donald Trump facing off against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the debate stage.
And by “look forward to,” I mean try keep from gagging over seeing a woman with a long and accomplished career that has prioritized women, children, and the working poor forced to withstand whatever inevitable insults are lobbed her way by a man who, without hesitating, has called women pigs, fat slobs, and dismissed their credibility for his belief that they must be on their period (because we all know women can’t have a period and, y’know, a brain).
Of course, Trump has already gone after Clinton directly, too: Remember when he said Clinton had been schlonged? Or when he expressed disgust by her—gasp!—taking a bathroom break during commercial at a Democratic debate?
It's against this backdrop that NARAL Pro-Choice America, one of the nation's leading reproductive rights organizations, tells Fusion that it is launching a new campaign to shine a spotlight on the very different records of Clinton and Trump when it comes to women.
In a statement, Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL, told Fusion:
The two inevitable presidential candidates in 2016 share one thing in common: they both focus on women in ways no one else in their primaries do. No one has shown as much leadership as Hillary on challenges too often written off as ‘women’s issues.’ That’s why NARAL members have mobilized and organized voters in key states like Iowa, Ohio, Missouri, Nevada, and South Carolina to show support for her. And they're excited. They're excited because they know that at every stage of her career, Hillary has established innovative programs to help women facing challenging circumstances, whether they be rape victims in the Deep South, low-income new mothers, or women’s rights advocates in developing countries. She understands that if women and girls cannot control when and how we grow our families, everything else we aspire to from education, to healthy parenting, to economic stability, to professional achievement moves further out of reach. She is a champion for all, and especially for women.
Donald Trump on the other hand feels no compunction in vocalizing his disgust for women in no uncertain terms. The way he and his campaign have targeted and victimized women is abhorrent and women of both parties won't stand for it. Donald Trump would shut down the government to defund Planned Parenthood, sign an unconstitutional abortion ban, and belittles women facing life threatening situations who need an abortion. He refers to women as ‘dogs’, ‘bimbos’, ‘fat pigs’, and says you ‘have to treat them like sh*t.’ His campaign manager allegedly abused a female journalist for asking questions at a recent campaign event. His counsel doesn’t consider marital rape to be rape.
We’re proud to help Donald Trump own his misogynistic record and rhetoric, and support Hillary Clinton because of her tremendous support for policies that help women get ahead. On abortion access and reproductive freedom, the choice couldn’t be more clear.
Because that’s the thing: Trump’s attacks against women don’t only extend to his insult-comic antics. His policy stances are just as demeaning.
Trump has flippantly insisted he would defund Planned Parenthood as long as it continues to provide abortion care (something, of course, that no taxpayer dollars currently go toward).
Trump explained his burgeoning anti-choice stance by telling the story of a male friend whose wife was pregnant, but he didn’t really want to have a baby, but you know, she did—ugh, women—and now he loves that child, so abortion is bad! (The lack of cohesive logical thought here is so extreme it’s almost admirable.)
Trump says he supports a federal 20-week abortion ban because “elective abortions after 20 weeks…goes against our core values.” (I‘ll just leave right here that 99% of abortions in the U.S. occur before 21 weeks, and women experience complications from abortion almost never.)
And another thing about Mr. Trump: His “Taxes too high, wages too high” stance about the current state of the economy is also a direct insult towards women. The majority of minimum wage workers in the U.S. are women—and, even more specifically, women of color and parents. (And yes, almost a third of all women obtaining abortions have incomes between 100 and 199 percent of the federal poverty line, too.)
In contrast, Clinton has expressed support for advancing policies that would help women, from repealing the Hyde Amendment and the Helms Amendment to increasing the minimum wage and mandating paid family leave.
So when you take all of this into account and factor in that sexism against women—and Hillary Clinton—is really real, it seems the Democratic candidate needs all the help she can get. At least as long as dudes like Joe Scarborough and Brit Hume keep telling her to smile and stop shouting.
This is why NARAL forcing the candidates to #OwnIt is necessary—and couldn’t happen at a better time. More in the video below:
Jen Gerson Uffalussy is a regular contributor to Fusion. She also writes about reproductive and sexual health/policy for Glamour, and television for The Guardian. She lives in Atlanta.