New York Sen. Hillary Clinton has been speaking to China recently (and not the kind on her Chappaqua dining-room table that is stamped “Property of the White House.”)

Hillary, sensing a run for the presidency, is trying to soften her image a bit – a political renovation which will require plastic explosives, blowtorch and floor sander. Among these attempts at softening is a public de-radicalization of her stance on abortion.

Hillary has put away the activist “If abortions are outlawed, only outlaws will be allowed to screw around with my husband” T-shirt and, recently, called abortion “tragic,” which ruffled the feathers of many of her pro-abortion allies on the left.

Hillary has been reminded by some of her colleagues that, as a pro-choicer, it’s your right to abort anything … except your principles. Not to worry, Friends of Hillary, she’s not aborting her principles – just leaving ’em home without a babysitter for a while.

To add to Hillary’s seemingly harder line against abortions being commonplace, she’s now pointing an accusatory finger at Beijing.

President Bush is going to China this week, and Hillary Clinton wants to send him there with a message: “China, your ‘forced-abortion’ birth-control system sucks.”

China, a nation that just last month had men orbiting earth – bringing them one step closer to their goal of putting dissidents on Neptune – enforces a social policy that can only be called “all-but-one child left behind.” Women routinely are ordered to have abortions or sterilized, in step with that country’s one-child rule.

At first glance, Hillary’s stance against “forced” abortion in China may soften her in the view of some, as happened in an editorial in the New York Sun:

Too often, the only time Democratic politicians talk about unborn children is in the context of abortion as an absolute right for women. For Mrs. Clinton to speak out against pressuring women to terminate pregnancies is a step in the right direction.

If abortion is a “right,” shouldn’t Hillary be thrilled rather than angered that a totalitarian nation is finally engaging in the promotion – albeit rather aggressively – of a “human right”? She wouldn’t get her pantsuit in a twist if China’s government demanded that all citizens engage in freedom of speech, worship or assembly, would she?

The fact is – abortion isn’t a “right.” You can’t legalize any form of murder under the guise of it being a “right” and then act shocked when it’s used as a control tool by any government. True “rights” are things that do – and should – give government officials the night sweats. If abortion is a “right,” then it’s the first right I’ve ever heard of that a government forced people to exercise.

Besides, if abortions – as it is so often claimed – don’t really take lives, then why is China’s policy wrong, Hillary? Of course, you’d also have to ask yourself: If abortion isn’t killing, how does it seem to do such a bang-up job of population control? True “rights” don’t claim lives, they enrich them. Rights also come from God, and not government.

Hillary Clinton obviously believes that rights come from government – just like the Chinese government does. The problem is that any government that is empowered to proclaim abortion as a “right” could easily justify anything for any purpose. When killing is a “right,” what could possibly be wrong, and that’s a path down which many nations in history have traveled and not returned.

Other “rights” issues Hillary Clinton wants President Bush to discuss with China include Tibet, freedom of religion, and the rights of working men and women to organize unions for the purpose of bargaining collectively. How many of these other “rights” will the Chinese government “force” upon its citizens? “Zero” is a safe bet.

A “right” is a means, but not an end. You have the “right” to free speech, but others have the “right” to ignore you. You have the “right” to keep and bear arms, and innocent people have the “right” to not be shot. An abortion is the means and the end, and as such ceases to be a right, wherever it’s practiced, by whomever it’s performed.

The belief that abortion is a “right” can only lead to the inability to differentiate between such things as the students who protested at Tiananmen Square, and the government’s massacre of them.

A baby killed by an abortion is a baby killed by an abortion – if by whose decree is the only deciding factor between if it’s right or wrong, we’re in trouble.

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