Chelsea Clinton, the only child of former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, has announced that she and her husband are expecting their first child this year, and most of the reaction has been positive. Still, this is the Clintons we are discussing — a family who the right has spent decades obsessing over the every move of, and whom politicos on both sides of the party divide have analyzed to the tiniest detail in preparation for a 2016 presidential run.
As a child growing up in the White House and under intense media scrutiny, Chelsea is no stranger to having her private matters up for public debate and political point-scoring. Yet you can’t help but wonder if even she was surprised by some of these completely outrageous reactions to the announcement that she was pregnant.
1) The Clinton Abortion: There’s a dedicated wing of the extreme anti-abortion movement that insists that those who support a person’s right to decide for herself whether or not to continue a pregnancy are in fact intent on ensuring that all children are aborted. Because of that, the mocking “Clinton’s celebrate abortion!” satire was pretty much an inevitability from the moment Chelsea announced. Christian Post got right on that, penning what was no doubt meant to be a scathing, Swift-esque column dedicated to the joyful announcement that Chelsea would terminate the pregnancy.
“While speaking at a No Ceilings event at the Lower Eastside Girls Club in New York on Thursday, April 17th, Chelsea Clinton made an important announcement. Seated on stage by her mother, Hillary Clinton, Chelsea revealed that she was pregnant, but with a smile proclaimed that she had decided to have an abortion,” writes Robin Schumacher, followed up with congratulatory support from Bill and Hillary, which includes the former president tweeting, “Excited to see Chelsea exercise her reproductive rights!”
Of course, that’s where the satire falls to pieces, because yes, that is exactly what Chelsea is doing. She is exercising her reproductive rights by becoming pregnant and having a child now, a pregnancy that appears to be both planned, wanted, supported and eagerly anticipated. That is just as much an exercise of reproductive rights as prevention or termination.
2) “When‘s the uterine contents party?” Working off their talking points that those who support reproductive rights use false images to distance themselves from abortion being about ending the lives of unborn babies, anti-abortion activists on Twitter began asking about potential “uterine contents” showers and when they would be celebrating the “products of conception.” The “joke” is the same that is made every time a celebrity gets pregnant, whether pro-life or pro-choice, so Chelsea can now share something in common with Princess Kate.
3) Will Hillary be able to run? For some reason, the first question to pop into most of the political punditry’s minds was whether Hillary Clinton could still meet with the demands of a potential 2016 presidential run while balancing this new role as grandmother, too. I could see how such a thing could be daunting. After all, a grandmother is required to…well…actually, no, a grandmother isn’t required to do anything with a child that could get in the way of a political ambitions.
That a child that will be born close to two years prior to election day is expected to have an effect on any candidate is a stretch on its own. That the person in question isn’t even that child’s parent is even more laughable. Has having a grandchild, either old or new, had any effect on any presidential candidate’s campaign plans in the past?
No, but none of those candidates were women, which apparently makes all of the difference. Despite admitting the question is probably sexist, the Christian Science Monitor’s Linda Feldman proceeds to ask it anyway, justifying it by saying, “[A]s anyone who’s had children knows, there’s often nothing like the bond between mother and daughter when the first grandbaby is on the way. If we had to guess, we’d say that Hillary Clinton will be a tad less interested in running for president now that she’s about to be a grandmother.”
4) Did Hillary plan this to help her campaign? Then, there are those who are convinced that every thing that occurs in the Clinton family is an enormous plot to further the dynasty’s plan for world domination. Hence, Hillary told Chelsea to get pregnant now, in order to assure there would be a Clinton grandchild prop on the campaign trail in 2016. One rightwing pundit declared, “Pardon the skeptic in me, but what great timing! I mean, purely accidental, purely an act of nature, purely just left up to God. And God answered Hillary Clinton’s prayers and she going to have the prop of being a new grandma while she runs for president. It just warms the heart. It brings a tear to my eye.” Meanwhile, analysts touted the number of benefits Clinton will receive from the grandmother role, from having it soften her image to giving her a baby to hold during her candidacy announcement.
So, to summarize, Chelsea Clinton has been strong-armed by her mother to get pregnant and give birth to uterine contents in order to boost the 2016 presidential campaign race that Hillary will no longer be competing in because she will be too busy being a grandmother to run.
No wonder Republicans have a hard time reaching women voters. None of their messages make sense together.
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