Boom Goes the Secretary!

Yesterday, Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) questioned Secretary of State Hillary Clinton about the practical effects of cutting federal funding for international family planning, which Republicans are seeking to do. Below is a clip of their exchange, in which Clinton coolly calls out the hypocrisy of their opponents' position and, in her inimitable way, conveys her contempt for the idea that funding contraception is even controversial in this day and age. Enjoy.

Text Onscreen: At Senate Hearing, Lautenberg Exchange with Secretary Clinton on International Family Planning | February 28, 2012.

Senator Frank Lautenberg: In recent years, Congressional opponents of contraception have sought deep cuts to international family planning programs. What happens, Madame Secretary, if they succeed in cutting the family planning programs? What's the penalty—what's the cost of that in real terms?

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: Well, the cost is financial, the cost is in women's lives, the cost is to undermine what many of the very same opponents claim is their priority, namely to prevent abortions [wry grin] because—you know, we want to stay focused on improving maternal and child health, and there is no doubt at all that family planning services are absolutely essential to improving both maternal and child health.

Working through our government—with other governments, with NGOs with expertise, capacity, proven track records—we have made a big difference in women's health. You know, global estimates, Senator, indicate that, by helping women space births and avoid unintended pregnancies, family planning has the potential of preventing twenty-five percent of the maternal and child deaths in the developing world.

Family planning is the best way we have to prevent unintended pregnancies and abortion [wry grin] so I—I know that it—it is, um, a very, um, controversial issue [she seems barely able to spit the words out through her disdain and casts her eyes down then lifts them back up as she continues] but numerous studies have shown that the incidence of abortions decreases when women have access to contraception.

And therefore I strongly support what this administration is doing in trying to provide the means to improve the health of women and children around the world. [nods sagely]
Related Reading: This Is What a Feminist Secretary of State Sounds Like.

[H/T to @PPact.]

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