Hillary Clinton: 'Religious Beliefs ... Have to Be Changed' About Abortion

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said "deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed" to allow women access to "reproductive health care" – which was widely seen as a call to change views on abortion.

ScreenshotHillary Clinton at Women in The World Summit in New York City

"Yes, we've cut the maternal mortality rate in half, but far too many women are still denied critical access to reproductive health care and safe childbirth, and laws don't count for much if they're not enforced. Rights have to exist in practice — not just on paper. Laws have to be backed up with resources and political will. And deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed," Clinton said at the sixth annual Women in The World Summit in New York City.

"As I have said and as I believe, the advancement of the full participation of women and girls in every aspect of their societies is the great unfinished business of the 21st century and not just for women but for everyone – and not just in far away countries but right here in the United States," she added in her keynote address at the event Thursday.

Clinton also spoke about illegal immigrants, criticizing "those who offer themselves as leaders who would deport mothers working to give their children a better life, rather than risk the ire of talk radio."

She went on to say: "We move forward when gay and transgendered women are embraced as our colleagues and friends, not fired from their jobs because of who they love. We move forward when women who came to this country in search of a better life can earn a path to citizenship."

Gov. Bobby Jindal, a Repblican who is likely to run for president, responded to Clinton's remarks.

"Hillary Clinton said that people who are pro-life have to change our religious beliefs. That's crazy talk. This is why the fight for religious freedom is so important. Our religious beliefs are between us and God, not us and Hillary Clinton," he said. "Hillary Clinton and The Left want to socially engineer everyone to adhere to their leftwing ideology even if it's in violation of a person's sincerely held religious convictions."

A video Hillary Clinton released earlier this month to officially announce her 2016 run for president featured a same-sex couple that is planning a summer wedding.

In the video, the voice of one of the two men, Jared Milrad and Nathan Johnson, says, "I'm getting married this summer with someone I really care about."

Milrad and Johnson are members of Human Rights Campaign, the group says on its website, noting, "The ad marks the first time same-sex couples and marriage equality were included in a presidential campaign launch."