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The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

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Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Presidential election vital to women’s rights

Photo credit: Madison Holmes

With all the news surrounding this year’s election, it seems as if everyone is honed in on the candidates’ stances on our nation’s most controversial issues. One of the most talked and argued about topics throughout this campaign has been that of abortion rights – a topic I find to be extremely important and one that must be discussed.

My stance on abortion rights is this: I believe women have every right to make decisions about their own bodies. A woman’s body is no one’s property but her own. Therefore, it’s not fair or just for anyone else to be involved in the choices a female makes with her body. I don’t understand why old, white, rich men of power think they have the authority to say what’s right and what isn’t for women.

With that being said, let’s now look at our most popular presidential candidates’ views on the matter.


Female candidate Hillary Clinton is pro-choice, stating that she thinks abortion should be legal. A few years ago Clinton made the statement, “the government should have no role” in a woman’s choice to an abortion. On Jan. 6, 2016, Clinton told the public exactly how she felt regarding politics’ interference in women’s abortions.

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Clinton also made the claim that if she were elected president, she would seek out only Supreme Court nominees that “uphold the Roe v. Wade decision establishing a national right to abortion.” She even went so far as to say she would provide a litmus test regarding this issue to all possible nominees, emphasizing her seriousness on providing a pro-choice legal standard in the nation.

The second most popular Democratic candidate, Bernie Sanders, is an adamant women’s rights advocate. Sanders believes “women’s bodies are their own” and that they absolutely have a right to a safe abortion. In his fight for women’s rights Sanders proudly states, “the decision about abortion must remain a decision for the woman and her doctor to make, not the government.” Sanders and his supporters are fighting for the continuation of Planned Parenthood in aiding unwanted pregnancy, and plan on expanding Planned Parenthood throughout the country.

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Donald Trump, the most popular Republican candidate and perhaps the most popular (or notorious) candidate of the campaign, classifies himself as pro-life. In one statement, Trump pronounced abortion as a “very serious problem” in which “there has to be some form of punishment.”

When asked about his certain positions on Planned Parenthood, Trump said he would not fund the organization if it “had abortion going on.” It’s safe to say that Donald Trump is certainly not a supporter of abortion and will take measures to eliminate access and funding to such a procedure, seen in his statement, “Public funding of abortion providers is an insult to people of conscience at the least and an affront to good governance at best.”

Trump’s biggest competitor, Ted Cruz, has a strong stand against Planned Parenthood. Cruz believes the organization to be evil, corrupt and full of felony offenses. He stated that on his first day in office, he plans on investigating the “felonies” committed by Planned Parenthood.

Cruz is adamantly pro-life and remains serious about his plan to defund Planned Parenthood as soon as he can. Cruz utilizes his religious backing to support his idea that abortion is vehemently wrong. He even went so far as to say, “I don’t think a criminal enterprise taking the lives of millions of unborn children is wonderful in any way, shape, or form, and I don’t think they should get federal taxpayer dollars.”

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It’s easy for me to say I am in agreement with Democratic candidates Clinton and Sanders on the issue of abortion, and the claims that Cruz and Trump have made regarding Planned Parenthood are a little scary to me.

There’s so much that can be said about the topic and it’s important that people do discuss it. As controversial as it is, I think it’s brave when someone is able to stand up and voice their opinion on a topic that seems too personal. While it is personal indeed, the ultimate decision has been left to our nation’s leaders. They have the power to either strip away or promote the aid of Planned Parenthood in helping women across the nation with access to safe and healthy alternatives to unwanted pregnancy, and that’s why this upcoming election remains so crucial to women’s rights.

Emma Vidak-Benjamin can be reached at [email protected] or @gnarlyemma on Twitter.

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    Aristotle Bean // Apr 8, 2016 at 10:50 pm

    Hi Emma.

    Putting your opinion out there requires courage, so I give you credit for it.

    I’d like you to consider a real argument about abortion, rather than a cherry-picked quote here and there by a politician forced by electoral politics to make his positions short, sweet and largely unexplained.

    First, consider tthese words by well-known feminist, Camille Paglia, who shares your position. Paglia concedes that the Republicans hold “the moral high ground”.

    “Career women argue for abortion from expedience: it is personally and professionally inconvenient or onerous to bear an unwanted child. The pro-life movement, in contrast, is arguing that every conception is sacred and that society has a responsibility to protect the defenseless. The silence from second-wave feminists and liberals about the ethical ambiguities in their pro-choice belief system has been deafening. The one exception is Naomi Wolf, who showed admirable courage in questioning abortion in her 1995 essay, “Our Bodies, Our Souls.”

    Second, consider 5 moral arguments against abortion.

    Is ending the life of a human fetus moral? Does the human fetus have any value, and any rights?

    It’s a scientific fact that a human fetus is human life. Those who argue that the human fetus has no rights say that a fetus is not a “person”. But even if you believe that, it doesn’t mean the fetus doesn’t have intrinsic “value” or no “rights”.

    There are many living beings that are not persons that have both value and rights. A giraffe, a dog, a condor, a rabbit. None of these are persons. And that is MORAL ARGUMENT NO. 1: A living being doesn’t have to be a “person” to have intrinsic moral value and to have rights.

    When liberals lose this argument, they change the subject to the rights of the mother, that is: the right of a mother to end her fetus’ life, under any circumstance, for any reason, and at any time in her pregnancy.

    Is that moral?

    It is moral only if we believe that the human fetus has no intrinsic worth. But in most cases, almost everyone agrees that a human fetus has infinite worth. And an absolute right to live. When? As, for example, when a pregnant woman wants to give birth. Then society and the law regard the fetus as so valuable that if someone were to kill that fetus, that person could be prosecuted for homicide.

    Only when a pregnant woman doesn’t want to give birth do many people regard the fetus as worthless.

    Now does that make sense? It doesn’t seem to. Either the human fetus has worth, or it doesn’t. And this is MORAL ARGUMENT NO. 2: On what moral grounds does the mother alone decide a fetus’ worth?

    We certainly don’t do that with regard to a newborn child. It is society, not the mother, or the father, that determines if a newborn child has worth and a right to live.

    So the question is: Why should that be different BEFORE the human being is born?

    Why does one person, a mother, get to determine whether that being has a right to live?

    People respond by saying “A woman has the right to control her body.” Now that is entirely correct. But the problem, however, is that the fetus is NOT her body. It is IN her body. “It” is a separate body. And that is MORAL ARGUMENT NO. 3.

    No one ever asks a pregnant woman, “How’s your body?” When asking about the fetus, people ask “How’s the baby?”

    MORAL ARGUMENT NO. 4: Virtually everyone agrees that the moment the baby comes out of the womb, killing the baby is murder. But deliberately killing it a few months before birth is considered no more morally problematic than extracting a tooth. How does that make sense?

    And finally, MORAL ARGUMENT NO. 5: Aren’t there instances in which just about everyone — including those who are pro-choice — would acknowledge that an abortion might not be moral?

    For example, would it be moral to abort a female fetus solely because the mother prefers boys to girls, as has happened millions of times in China and elsewhere?

    And one more example: Let’s say science develops a method for determining whether a child in womb is gay or straight. Would it be moral to kill a gay fetus because the mother didn’t want a gay child?

    People may offer practical reasons not to criminalize all abortions. People may differ over when personhood begins. And about the morality of abortion after rape or incest. But with regard to the vast majority of abortions, those of : with healthy women aborting a healthy fetus, let’s be clear: Most of these abortions just aren’t moral.

    Good societies can survive people doing immoral things. But a good society cannot survive if it calls immoral things “moral”.

    Anyway, Emma, I would like you and other third-wave feminists to consider a more fully-fleshed out anti-abortion argument for once.

    Maybe it will change your mind. You’re not old, you should be testing your ideas at this age, and not stuck in your beliefs yet. At least I hope so.