Unborn child does not have constitutional rights: Clinton

by Gregory Tomlin, |
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is welcomed onstage by Planned Parenthood Action Fund President Cecile Richards, as Planned Parenthood publicly endorsed Clinton in Hooksett, New Hampshire, January 10, 2016. | REUTERS/Brian Snyder

WASHINGTON (Christian Examiner) – A week after Utah's governor signed landmark legislation requiring anesthesia be administered to unborn babies who are about to be aborted, Democrat presidential front runner Hillary Clinton has claimed unborn children do not have constitutional rights.

Clinton appeared on NBC's Meet the Press with Chuck Todd April 3. During the interview, she said her position was in line with the Supreme Court's decision in Roe v. Wade where women "have a constitutional right to make these moment intimate and personal and difficult decisions based on their conscience, their faith, their family, their doctor. And that it is something that really goes to the core of privacy. And I want to maintain that constitutional protection."

But the same protections do not extend to infants in the womb, she said.

"Well, under our laws currently, that is not something that exists. The unborn person doesn't have constitutional rights," Clinton said, adding that she believed the government should help women who want to carry a child to term.

"It doesn't mean that, you know, don't do everything possible to try to fulfill your obligations. But it does not include sacrificing the woman's right to make decisions. And I think that's an important distinction that under Roe v. Wade we've had refined under our Constitution," she said.

Clinton said there is room for "reasonable kinds of restrictions" after a certain point in the pregnancy, but she prefers to side with the woman's wishes. She also hinted that abortion should be an alternative "as one moves on in pregnancy." That includes the abortion of the child in the third trimester if the mother's life is considered to be in danger.

In the past Clinton has advocated a position on abortion in which she claims it should be "safe, legal and rare."

Clinton has said in the past that she regards an unborn child as a "potential life."

"For me, it is also not only about a potential life; it is about the other lives involved. And, therefore, I have concluded, after great concern and searching my own mind and heart over many years, that our task should be in this pluralistic, diverse life of ours in this nation that individuals must be entrusted to make this profound decision, because the alternative would be such an intrusion of government authority that it would be very difficult to sustain in our kind of open society. And as some of you've heard me discuss before, I think abortion should remain legal, but it needs to be safe and rare," Clinton said during the 2008 presidential campaign.

Concern over the life of the unborn child, and the child's constitutional rights, recently motivated conservatives in Utah to seek the passage of a bill requiring doctors to anesthetize a child facing abortion after 20 weeks – when many experts agree the child can experience significant pain.

Gov. Gary Herbert signed the law into effect March 28.

"The governor is adamantly pro-life. He believes in not only erring on the side of life, but also minimizing any pain that may be caused to an unborn child," a statement from the governor's office said.

Utah's law is the first to require anesthesia during abortion, Reuters reported. A nearly identical bill passed in Montana in 2015, but the state's Democrat governor vetoed the bill.