How Do Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders Compare on Women’s Health?

Category: Elections

Let’s be clear — when it comes to issues like birth control, abortion, and access to services at Planned Parenthood, both leading Democratic candidates for president have great records, and would make a great president. In fact, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are both rated 100% on Planned Parenthood Action Fund’s congressional scorecard for their perfect voting records on women’s health and rights, and have been strong defenders of Planned Parenthood.

So why did the Planned Parenthood Action Fund endorse Hillary Clinton? Because no other presidential contender in our nation’s history has demonstrated such a strong, proactive commitment to women or has such a clear and outspoken record on behalf of women’s health and rights. With so much at stake in this election, we need someone who will do more than just defend reproductive rights — we need a steadfast champion who will fight to expand them, and do so not just when it’s easy, but also when it’s hard.

Check out our chart to learn about both Sanders’ and Clinton’s records on some of the issues that are most important to reproductive rights advocates.

Chart: Hillary Clinton v. Bernie Sanders on Reproductive Health and Rights

Hillary Clinton  Bernie Sanders
Clinton introduced eight pieces of legislation with the clear purpose of expanding and protecting women’s access to reproductive health care. Sanders has consistently co-sponsored and voted for pro-women’s health legislation.
Clinton consistently co-sponsored and voted for pro-women’s health legislation.
Clinton introduced the Paycheck Fairness Act in 2005, 2007, and 2009 to address the gender pay gap. Sanders has co-sponsored and consistently voted for legislation aimed at addressing the gender pay gap.
Clinton consistently co-sponsored and voted for legislation aimed at addressing the gender pay gap.
Clinton waged a multiyear effort​ — and even blocked the nomination of an FDA head with Sen. Patty Murray — to pass a breakthrough in birth control access: the law that made emergency contraception available over the counter. Sanders has consistently co-sponsored and voted for legislation that expands access to birth control, family planning, and sex education.
Clinton helped launch the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, which supports access to birth control, family planning, and sex education.
Clinton helped beat back a proposal to define birth control (including IUDs) as abortion, saving federal funds for certain medical providers.
Clinton has consistently co-sponsored and voted for legislation that expands access to birth control, family planning, and sex education.
Clinton boldly spoke out in support of Planned Parenthood — without prompting — at each of the first three Democratic debates, as well as dozens of times on the campaign trail. Sanders did not mention Planned Parenthood during the first three Democratic debates, but has made supportive statements several times on the campaign trail.
As senator, Clinton introduced the legislation to restore funding to the UN Population Fund. President Bush suspended funding for it, but as secretary of state Clinton helped lead the U.S. in overturning the Bush administration's policy. Sanders voted for the legislation to restore funding to the UN Population Fund, which helps provide family planning, HIV, and maternal health care to millions of low-income people in developing countries around the world.
In an unprecedented move as secretary of state, Clinton launched the federal Office of Global Women's Issues, which aims to integrate women as central partners in decisions about foreign policy.
Clinton started myriad global programs that help women and girls survive extreme hardship in rural areas, as well as enter fields such as business and public service.


Bottom Line: Sanders and Clinton are Both Good on Reproductive Health — But Clinton Pushes Harder

When you see their records side by side, there’s no question why the Planned Parenthood Action Fund endorsed Hillary Clinton for president. She has simply demonstrated the strongest record, clearest leadership, and most focused commitment to women’s health of any presidential candidate.

For anyone who supports Senator Sanders, know we are grateful for his strong record on reproductive rights. This endorsement doesn’t mean we’ll do anything negative about Sanders’ campaign. Instead it means that for the first time in history, we have the chance to help elect someone who’s been fighting to expand reproductive health and rights for decades to the White House, just when we need that kind of champion the most.

“[Abortion access] goes to the heart of who we are as women, our rights, our autonomy, our ability to make our own decisions, and we need to be talking about that and defending Planned Parenthood from these outrageous attacks.”

—Hillary Clinton, 4/18/2016

Planned Parenthood Action Fund’s Endorsement Process

Planned Parenthood Action Fund didn’t choose to endorse Hillary Clinton in a vacuum. Planned Parenthood Action Fund and Planned Parenthood advocacy and political organizations across the country worked together to come to a decision:

  • Our process involved months of research on records like the ones you see above, and answers to questionnaires that we sent all the presidential candidates. 
  • In addition, an interview team comprised of policy experts, board leaders, youth organizers, and other key individuals — including a Planned Parenthood local advocacy organization CEO, a health care provider, a Planned Parenthood supporter who’s also a patient, and a reproductive justice ally — interviewed the candidates who responded to the questionnaire. 
  • We also got feedback from hundreds of grassroots Planned Parenthood supporters in person and thousands online to create a set of values to guide us.

Based on what the candidates said in their interviews — along with their records, statements, and positions on women's health — we decided, hands down, to endorse Hillary Clinton for president.

More on Hillary Clinton

Want more? Read our in-depth examples of how Clinton has fought for reproductive health and rights, and why Planned Parenthood Action Fund knows we can count on her to continue to champion the issues we care about.

Want even more? Watch THIS:

Tags: Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Election 2016

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