When it comes to the American presidency, first family members — who generally aren't politicians, themselves — are often asked to discuss their own political opinions. In doing so, many first children have become surrogates for their parent's administrations, both past and present. But when you compare Chelsea Clinton and Ivanka Trump's stances on reproductive rights, you see that while they both live relatively public lives, one of them is not so forthcoming with her beliefs.
Chelsea and Ivanka both grew up in the spotlight, but Ivanka's father, President Trump, is a political newcomer. In turn, Ivanka, who was raised by a real estate mogul and reality television star, tends to demur when asked to share her political opinions, and especially those regarding abortion and contraception access. Chelsea, however, who spent most of her childhood growing up in or around the American political world, tends to vocally share her thoughts.
"I don’t talk about my politics," Ivanka said when WGBH host Margery Eagan asked her if she's pro-choice, in an interview that aired early in 2016. "I don't feel like it’s my role, and not the candidate’s. I’m the daughter… I don’t think my politics are relevant to the discussion."
Later that year, when her father was just about a month away from winning his bid for the presidency, Ivanka doubled down on her position. “I don’t express my views on policy, with one exception as it relates to child care and advocating for women,” Ivanka said at the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit in October of 2016. Her personal views on abortion, she said, weren't what mattered, according to Fortune.
Indeed, Ivanka has focused a lot of her attention on talking about children and women. But those discussions have not included any notably stalwart views on reproductive access or justice. Chelsea, in turn, has long been vocal about where she stands.
"Access to contraceptives & family planning is a matter of life or death for many women," Chelsea tweeted in February 2017. She elaborated on her stance later on in the same year.
“When I think about all of the statistics, that are painful, of what women are confronting today in our country, and what even more women confronted pre-Roe, and how many women died, and how many more women were maimed because of unsafe abortion practices, we just can’t go back to that," Chelsea said during a SiriusXM Town Hall clip that was uploaded in September 2017, according to The Washington Examiner.
"That’s unconscionable to me," she continued. "And also, I’m sure that this will unleash another wave of hate in my direction, but as a deeply religious person, it’s also un-Christian to me."
There have been a lot of debates regarding the ethics of holding these ancillary figures to task over their personal beliefs, but Ivanka and Chelsea have arguably leaned into the public spotlight. They make highly public appearances, participate in interviews, and — in Ivanka's case— have taken an office in the White House. Although they may not have asked their parents to run for president, their positions as first daughters have become part of their public identities, and that's something neither will likely escape any time soon.