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Please note that this question contains some graphic language that some people will find distressing. Ben Shapiro makes two statements about Hillary Clinton's views on allowing abortion of a fetus. There are two parts of the video that I have transcribed, and given links to. I realise there technically are two different claims, but I think this can form one question (I really don't want to make multiple questions of this one video).

We're going to play a game called "When should you be able to kill this baby?" Because I've been told by people like Hillary Clinton that you're able to kill this baby all the way up to the very end, right, 32 to 30 weeks.
Link to video

and

It is evil to suggest, as Hillary Clinton does, that the minute before a baby is born you should be able to drag it by the feet, out of the mother, except for the head, stick a scissors in there, ram it into the baby's skull, rip the skull open, suck the brains out, crushing it, and then pull it out. Hillary believes that that's something you should be able to do.
Link to video

So the important claims to note here are:

  1. The claim that Ms Clinton supports abortion when the fetus is at 30 to 32 weeks of gestation.

  2. (Ignoring the luridly detailed description of one specific method of abortion), that Ms Clinton has "suggested" that "you should be able" to perform an abortion "the minute before the baby is born".

My own research has turned up a Snopes article that fact-checks the proposition:

  • Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton both seek an abortion "cutoff date" of 36 weeks, and both claim that late-stage fetuses feel no pain and have no rights.
    Snopes link

This was concluded as being false. Specifically the "cutoff date 36 weeks" sounds very close to Ben's statement of "the minute the baby is born", and so if I take Snopes conclusion to be correct, then I can deduce that Shapiro's second quote is false. Though please advise me if Snopes has this wrong.

Shapiro's first quotation however doesn't refer to 36 weeks gestation, but to "30 to 32" weeks. As he is referring to the earlier "30 to 32" week period, could it be said that Shapiro is correct in saying this about Ms Clinton?

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    I think the Snopes article gives you the answer. Clinton has supported the right to abortion in general terms, but has not made any specific statements about precise rules for late-term abortions. – Paul Johnson Jan 26 at 9:41
  • I see, so so far there's no evidence that supports either true or false? I found this page, where Trump makes a similar charge against her: "f you go with what Hillary is saying, in the ninth month, you can rip the baby out of the womb of the mother just prior to the birth of the baby. " I really don't know what this is, is there are a reason Trump and Shapiro have characterised her views in such a way? Maybe Hillary has equivocated on the issue to allow such an interpretation? ontheissues.org/2016/Hillary_Clinton_Abortion.htm – Zebrafish Jan 26 at 11:11
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    The reason Shapiro and Trump characterise her views that way is because they're blatantly dishonest. But graphic descriptions of murder play very nicely to their base, which is predisposed to think that absolute worst of Hillary Clinton, up to and including a habit of ritual child murder in the basement of a pizza joint. – Shadur Jan 26 at 20:08
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    @Shadur I share your concern, but in neither Trump's remark nor in Shapiro's remark have they said that either procedure is carried out with a live fetus. The fetus's life is ended in the uterus before "ripping it out" or doing the "intact dilation and extraction" process that Shapiro refers to. If you want to say that Trump or Shapiro, through their tone or language impliedly led people to believe it's a live baby at that stage, I'm with you, that's a fair argument to make. – Zebrafish Jan 27 at 6:19
  • One should take almost anything Shapiro says with a very large amount of salt. As someone that claims pretty often he is just using "facts" to defend his views, he most often than not quote statistics incorrectly or quote things out of context to make his argument while wielding the most convincing poker face possible. – T. Sar Jan 28 at 9:48
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On the Issues has an overview over Clinton's position on abortion.

She described her position on late-term abortions during the 2016 presidential debate:

Roe v. Wade very clearly sets out that there can be regulations on abortion so long as the life and the health of the mother are taken into account. The kinds of cases that fall at the end of pregnancy are often the most heartbreaking, painful decisions for families to make. I have met with women who toward the end of their pregnancy get the worst news one could get: that their health is in jeopardy if they continue to carry to term or that something terrible has just been discovered about the pregnancy. I do not think the United States government should be stepping in and making those most personal of decisions. So you can regulate if you are doing so with the life and the health of the mother taken into account.

In 2000, she clarified that she is not opposed to a ban on so called partial-birth abortions, as long as the health and life of the mother are protected:

I have said many times that I can support a ban on late-term abortions, including partial-birth abortions, so long as the health and life of the mother is protected. I’ve met women who faced this heart-wrenching decision toward the end of a pregnancy. Of course it’s a horrible procedure. No one would argue with that. But if your life is at stake, if your health is at stake, if the potential for having any more children is at stake, this must be a woman’s choice.

Clinton repeated in 2016 that she is still in favour of regulations on late-term abortions if they contain exceptions for the life and health of the mother.

So Clinton is not opposed to late-term abortion when the life or health of the mother is in question, but she is in favour of regulating them if it is not.

The description of late-term abortions by Shapiro is also questionable.

  • I've read that Forbes article, and the Wikipedia article on "intact dilation and extraction", and as far as I can tell it DOES happen and is described in the article exactly as Shapiro describes it. Legislation varies from state to state. What is not necessarily true is Shapiro's second quote where he mentions this procedure and says that Hillary is in favour of it. However I'm not sure about the first quote as Hillary has essentially been vague, saying basically something like it's a difficult decision for a woman and the government shouldn't be making the decision for her. – Zebrafish Jan 27 at 6:05
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    @Zebrafish The upshot is that Shapiro's characterization of Hillary's opinion is fundamentally dishonest; healthy pregnant women with healthy babies are not routinely getting late-term abortions; therefore banning the procedure does not save healthy babies, it forces people already in an impossibly tragic situation (a baby with a fatal defect) to face an even more horrific option (a difficult delivery with no possible positive outcome). See this Guardian article for several stories. – BradC Jan 29 at 17:23
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    @Zebrafish Still largely a false argument; there are no doctors in the US that will perform an abortion on a healthy 32-week fetus, period, so asking if it should be allowed by law is a straw man, unless you take the real scenarios into account (the ones I discuss above). There is a single doctor in one US state who consults with mothers in those sad medical situations in which it is necessary. Clearly explaining these caveats is important, lest the Shapiro's of the world declare SEE SHE LOVES KILLING BABIES. – BradC Jan 29 at 17:44
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    @Zebrafish This is an X vs Y problem, and, per that meta question, I'm addressing the unstated implications of your question. So, yes, Clinton (and the vast majority of Democrats) oppose bills banning late-term abortions unless they have the proper exceptions for the types of cases we discuss above, but no, this doesn't mean she supports terminating a healthy near-term pregnancy arbitrarily (because that doesn't really happen). Maybe I'll write my own answer addressing this point. – BradC Jan 29 at 19:16
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    @Zebrafish So you don't see the relevance to a discussion about nuanced policy positions about late-term abortions of an article explaining the actual situations that people need late-term abortions? It's precisely on point, and an important counter to this common accusation (that was around long before Clinton and Shapiro). I was once strongly anti-abortion, so I am deeply familiar with the arguments surrounding it; so I can't help but read between the lines to the underlying arguments, or seeing the ways in which this argument is frequently used to attack pro-choice politicians. – BradC Jan 29 at 21:01
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Transcript from 19 October 2016 debate:

WALLACE: I'm going to give you a chance to respond, but I want to ask you, Secretary Clinton, I want to explore how far you believe the right to abortion goes. You have been quoted as saying that the fetus has no constitutional rights. You also voted against a ban on late-term, partial-birth abortions. Why?

CLINTON: Because Roe v. Wade very clearly sets out that there can be regulations on abortion so long as the life and the health of the mother are taken into account. And when I voted as a senator, I did not think that that was the case.

The kinds of cases that fall at the end of pregnancy are often the most heartbreaking, painful decisions for families to make. I have met with women who toward the end of their pregnancy get the worst news one could get, that their health is in jeopardy if they continue to carry to term or that something terrible has happened or just been discovered about the pregnancy. I do not think the United States government should be stepping in and making those most personal of decisions. So you can regulate if you are doing so with the life and the health of the mother taken into account.

WALLACE: Mr. Trump, your reaction? And particularly on this issue of late-term, partial-birth abortions.

TRUMP: Well, I think it's terrible. If you go with what Hillary is saying, in the ninth month, you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb of the mother just prior to the birth of the baby.

Now, you can say that that's OK and Hillary can say that that's OK. But it's not OK with me, because based on what she's saying, and based on where she's going, and where she's been, you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb in the ninth month on the final day. And that's not acceptable.

CLINTON: Well, that is not what happens in these cases. And using that kind of scare rhetoric is just terribly unfortunate. You should meet with some of the women that I have met with, women I have known over the course of my life. This is one of the worst possible choices that any woman and her family has to make. And I do not believe the government should be making it.

On 21 October 2003 Clinton was one of 34 senators who voted against a law which:

Amends the Federal criminal code to prohibit any physician or other individual from knowingly performing a partial-birth abortion, except when necessary to save the life of a mother whose life is endangered by a physical disorder, illness, or injury.

Defines a "partial-birth abortion" as an abortion in which the person performing the abortion: (1) deliberately and intentionally vaginally delivers a living fetus until, in the case of a head-first presentation, the entire fetal head is outside the mother's body, or, in the case of a breech presentation, any part of the fetal trunk past the navel is outside the mother's body; and (2) performs the overt act, other than completion of delivery, that kills the partially delivered living fetus.

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    @Zebrafish the holding that the fetus doesn't have Constitutional Rights is a key aspect of Roe v. Wade which says "If this suggestion of personhood is established, the appellant's case, of course, collapses, for the fetus' right to life would then be guaranteed specifically by the [14th] Amendment." supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/410/113 So “the unborn person doesn’t have constitutional rights" applies to all the supporters of Roe v Wade. – DavePhD Jan 26 at 16:50
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    @Zebrafish No, it means that Shapiro and Trump grossly misinterpreted what Clinton said, either through ignorance or malice. Clinton points out that pretty much nobody carries a child through 8.5 months and then decides on the final week to instead murder a perfectly viable child for funsies, that the only time an abortion happens that late in the pregnancy is because the kid is already dead and the mother is likely to die as well if what remains is carried to term. It's not her fault that Shapiro and Trump both try to turn it into some kind of graphic Herod gore porn strawman. – Shadur Jan 26 at 20:03
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    Core phrase and the point Clinton was trying to get across: "This is one of the worst possible choices that any woman and her family has to make. And I do not believe the government should be making it. " – Shadur Jan 26 at 20:04
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    FWIW the second part of this answer seems to be the most telling. As a politician, and importantly a politician in an active campaign for President of the United States, both in 2000 (in tim's answer) and 2016 (in this answer), I would be reticent to trust anything she said in either of those cases as anything but "pandering to the crowd/public opinion at the time". Her voting record is (imo) much more telling as to her true beliefs. – Ertai87 Jan 28 at 19:56
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    @Zebrafish The issue is that Shapiro's argument is somewhat like "Hillary Clinton supports stabbing people with knives" because she voted against a bill that says "no one can use a knife to break the skin of another person" and in explaining her decision she said "Sometimes, using knives called scalpels on people is necessary to save their lives, this is called surgery and people don't do it for fun but rather when there is a medical necessity" and then Shapiro says "See! Hillary is in favor of stabbing people!" - if you skip the explanation you ignore the actual position. – Bryan Krause Jan 28 at 22:50

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