In her first policy speech since clinching the Democratic nomination, Hillary Clinton warned a cheering crowd of Planned Parenthood activists in Washington, D.C., that Donald Trump would roll back women’s rights if elected president.
The former secretary of state recited a long list of Trump’s most controversial statements on women, including his comment in March that women should face “some form of punishment” if they get an abortion once the procedure is outlawed.
“Anyone who would so casually agree with the idea of punishing women as if it was nothing to him … that’s someone who doesn’t hold women in high regard,” Clinton said. She added that Trump has said paid parental leave would make the U.S. economy less competitive.
Clinton mocked Trump as the crowd laughed. “But don’t worry, Donald assures us that as president, he’ll be — and I quote again — ‘the best for women,’” she said.
She said she was skeptical of Trump’s promise. “After all, this is a man who has called women pigs, dogs and disgusting animals — kind of hard to count on him to respect our fundamental rights,” she said.
“Do we want to put our health, our lives, our futures in Donald Trump’s hands?” she asked.
National polling suggests that Clinton and Trump could have the largest voter gender gap in modern political history. Only 32 percent of women have a favorable view of the real estate tycoon, while 51 percent view Clinton favorably, according to a Washington Post/ABC News survey. A greater share of men back Trump over Clinton, but his lead with men does not match hers with women.
Clinton’s speech shows she is continuing her strategy against Trump that she began last week in San Diego, where she simultaneously mocked Trump’s past statements on foreign policy and warned about the potential dangers of a Trump administration. Trump said he would respond to Clinton’s foreign policy speech next week, going after her own record.
In her Friday speech, Clinton delivered an impassioned defense of the right of women to have legal abortions, and she slammed Republicans for attempting to defund Planned Parenthood. (Past legislation prevents Congress from allocating money to fund abortions, but federal funds go to support Planned Parenthood’s non-abortion-related services, like birth control and cancer screenings.)
Clinton said that as first lady, a U.S. senator and later as secretary of state, she saw how “the denial of family planning consigns women to lives of hardship.”
“Everything I have seen has convinced me that life is freer, fairer, healthier, safer and far more humane when women are empowered to make their own reproductive health decisions,” she said.