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Hillary Clinton declares abortion a 'core economic issue' at Planned Parenthood gala

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Hillary Clinton delivered a vociferous speech supporting Planned Parenthood's 100th anniversary at a gala held in the pro-choice organization's honor Tuesday night while taking aim at "unprecedented attacks" against reproductive rights.

"Let's respect people's convictions, but never back down from our commitment to defend the ability of every woman to make these deeply personal decisions for herself," Clinton said.

"Protecting access to the full range of reproductive health care: it is a health issue, of course, it is a core economic issue," Clinton said. "Women in every corner of our country understand that intimately. And anyone who wants to lead should also understand that fundamentally, this is an issue of morality."

Clinton's speech received massive praise and a standing ovation from the liberal-heavy crowd that included Chelsea Handler, Meryl Streep, Scarlett Johansson and more.

"I wish it were common ground," Clinton continued, "but I know for sure it is higher ground. And I believe, as you do, that trusting and valuing women is the right and moral position to take."

The former presidential nominee also reasoned that a women's right to "deeply personal decisions" is what should "make America, America."

"I believe we can and should respect deeply held beliefs of our friends, our neighbors, our fellow citizens, even if they differ from our own," Clinton said. "That's what should make America, America. But it is possible to do that while holding firm to what we know is the only right approach in our diverse democracy. Oh, yes, let's respect people's convictions, but never back down from our commitment to defend the ability of every woman to make these deeply personal decisions for herself."

Clinton isn't the only Democrat who believes that a woman's "right to choose" is non-negotiable. Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez said  April 21, "Every Democrat, like every American, should support a woman's right to make her own choices about her body and her health. That is not negotiable and should not change city by city or state by state."

Perez's comments followed a dustup surrounding his initial support for Democratic Omaha, Nebraska, mayoral candidate Heath Mello, who backed some pro-life legislation during his time as a member of the Nebraska legislature.

Clinton later commented on reports that pro-life activist Teresa Manning is joining the Trump administration, generically referring to Manning as "someone" who "doesn't believe in birth control."

Manning was tapped to oversee federal family planning programs within the Department of Health and Human Services. Manning has had deep ties to conservative, Christian, and pro-life organizations, such as the Family Research Council and the National Right to Life. Manning has also called into question the efficacy of female birth control during a 2003 interview.

"This administration wants to appoint someone to lead our nation's family planning program who doesn't believe in birth control," Clinton said. "As we speak, politicians in Washington are still doing everything they can to roll back the rights and progress we've fought so hard for over the last century."

"I mean, could you believe those photos of men around that conference table, deciding how to strip away coverage for pregnancy and maternity care?" Clinton asked, referring to a March meeting on the proposed Republican health care bill that pictured 25 men sitting around a table. "I gotta say, my favorite internet meme about this were the dogs sitting around the table discussing feline care — I found that so on point!"

Clinton closed her speech with a quote from "The Handmaid's Tale," a dystopian novel in which women lose their rights under a totalitarian theocratic government, warning women to keep on fighting:

In 'The Handmaid's Tale,' women's rights are gradually, slowly stripped away. As one character says, 'We didn't look up from our phones until it was too late.' It is not too late for us, but we have to encourage the millions of women and men who support Planned Parenthood's mission to keep fighting. To paraphrase Margaret Atwood, we can never let them grind us down.
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