Obama hedging on abortion rights?

This is Obama reaching out to evangelicals:

In an interview this week with "Relevant," a Christian magazine, Obama said prohibitions on late-term abortions must contain "a strict, well defined exception for the health of the mother."

Obama then added: "Now, I don't think that 'mental distress' qualifies as the health of the mother. I think it has to be a serious physical issue that arises in pregnancy, where there are real, significant problems to the mother carrying that child to term."

Last year, after the Supreme Court upheld a federal ban on late-term abortions, Obama said he "strongly disagreed" with the ruling because it "dramatically departs form previous precedents safeguarding the health of pregnant women."

Now this is not a direct contradiction to what he said per se, but seriously, since when is 'mental distress' not a serious affliction. He is talking about taking away rights of women under serious psychological and emotional distress. What is up with him?

I hope this is some pandering to evangelicals that he doesn't actually believe, but even then minimizing the seriousness of mental afflictions of pregnant women is simply a way of saying that women should not have control over their bodies even if are in deep emotional and psychological distress. The extension of that argument is that women get cranky and emotional and dont know what is 'the right thing to do' in their emotional fits. It is highly patronizing and pathetic.

How do you think NARAL is feeling right about now?

[editor's note, by ajain]: As has been noted in the comments, mental health has to be included in conversations about health. So this interview also gives us a hint that Obama may not consider mental health as part of "health", which is, by itself, a pretty big revelation from my perspective.

Tags: Barack Obama, NARAL, Roe Vs. Wade (all tags)



Re: Obama hedging on abortion rights?

hmmm, Obama is pandering wayyyyy too much right now.

I am wondering if he really wants to lose the democratic base.  seriously.

by colebiancardi 2008-07-03 05:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama hedging on abortion rights?

You consider mental distress a good reason to terminate a pregnancy?  I'm not being nasty or snarky here, either.  I mean, do you think that fits within the "health of the mother" concept?  I'm not saying I'm sure that it doesn't, but language like that allows extraordinarily broad interpretation.

by Reaper0Bot0 2008-07-03 05:59PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama hedging on abortion rights?

Yes, for both women's rights activists and mental health activists mental health is health.

by souvarine 2008-07-03 06:01PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama hedging on abortion rights?

Your turning shades of gray into black and white.  That is a naive simplistic view of things.  

Third term babies for the most part can live outside of the womb.  The argument is a HECK of a lot different than a little bundle of cells in the first trimester.   ALL MENTAL HEALTH would be a ridiculous exception.  At that point, someone can claim a tiny bit of depression is enough for a third trimester abortion.  Yes, the mother should be monitored if she starts to feel depressed.  But unless she tries to hurt herself, there is no argument that care and treatment for a mother with a mental health issues shouldn't be done and forced upon the mother for the 3 months remaining, rather than abort the child.  Its a different scenario ENTIRELY when the mothers IMMEDIATE physical health is threatened and aborting the child needs to be done to make sure the mother lives vs a mental health issue which YES is detrimental to her health, but only in RARE instances... IMMEDIATELY HARMFUL.   There are WAY to many ways to help the mother deal with all but the mot extreme mental health issues that do not require the death of the child.  I'm pro-choice, but it is NOT this black and white issue that the GOP has made it and other people have stupidly bought into.  There is LOGIC involved in this.  Its not just right or wrong, especially when it involves a child who can live outside the womb.

And don't give me the "OH IF YOU HAD BEEN THROUGH THIS..." BS.  I have been diagnosed with depression in my lifetime, and treated.  It sucks and is important to any healthcare.  But once the third trimester is around, we are talking about TWO lives, not one.

by yitbos96bb 2008-07-04 07:42AM | 0 recs
you all have no clue what you are talking about.  
Women do NOT terminate babies who can live outside of the womb.  They terminate dead babies and those who will die at birth.  They terminate babies with no brains and those which have water on the brain to the extent that delivering them will kill the mother and which will die anyway or live as vegetables and for that reason a woman should not have to have a ceserean.
LTAs are about .03 percent of abortions.  There is a reason for that.  BECAUSE WOMEN WHO SIMPLY DON'T WITH TO GIVE BIRTH HAD AN ABORTION IN THE FIRST 16 WEEKS.
Women who have late term abortions WANTED THEIR BABIES.  
Obama needs to mind his own business and so does everyone else when it come to abortion.  None of you, including him know what the hell the real story is and yet here you are mouthing off about women's moral choices as if they were any of your God damned business.
by Teacher1956 2008-07-06 11:55AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama hedging on abortion rights?

Of course mental health fits within the "health of the mother" concept.

I'm sorry, but excluding mental health from the broader discussion of health is something I thought we agreed not to do anymore.

The stigma of mental health should be removed and we cannot exclude that in any discussion about the well-being of any human.

by ajain 2008-07-03 06:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama hedging on abortion rights?


by yitbos96bb 2008-07-04 07:44AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama hedging on abortion rights?

yes.  it is.  mental distress could cause the mother to off herself.  

Ask any doctor if mental distress doesn't fit within the "health" of ANYONE.

by colebiancardi 2008-07-03 06:20PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama hedging on abortion rights?

Particularly in cases where the woman has been withdrawn from medication in order not to affect the development of the fetus.  For some people, psychotropic drugs are life sustaining and life saving. Mental illness can also develop in the middle of a pregnancy that requires serious treatment.  Just being pregnant does not keep anyone from developing new or latent mental health conditions.  It might even trigger their appearance.

by Scotch 2008-07-03 06:33PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama hedging on abortion rights?

And there are ways to do treatment without medication.  So by your rational it is OK to kill off a child who can LIVE OUTSIDE THE WOMB because of depression, or even suicidal thoughts... especially when said actions are treatable and are not an immediate DEATH SENTENCE to the mother.  Watching the mother to make sure she doesn't hurt herself makes much more sense.


by yitbos96bb 2008-07-04 07:48AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama hedging on abortion rights?

and then what happens after the birth?  

gee, Andrea Yates, anyone?

by colebiancardi 2008-07-04 08:13AM | 0 recs
I troll rated you

for not knowing what the hell you are talking about and STILL talking about women as if they were immoral and should just STFU and incubate.

please be quiet and go read my other comments and learn something and do not bother to argue with me about the facts until you have done some research.  You simply have no clue.

by Teacher1956 2008-07-06 01:07PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama hedging on abortion rights?

He didn't say mental health, he said mental distress. I believe he's referring to someone simply saying, "It's distressing to have a baby right now!"

While I don't appreciate Obama making any kinds of conciliatory gestures to wingnuts at this particular time, let's also at least be a little pragmatic here. Frankly, it's ridiculous to suggest that Obama doesn't understand what mental illness is or would refuse to allow abortions necessitated by it.

by Johnny Gentle Famous Crooner 2008-07-03 06:38PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama hedging on abortion rights?

that is a reach!!  lol

by colebiancardi 2008-07-04 04:45AM | 0 recs
It isn't a reach at all

I personally know of a person who had lost her job, her boyfriend left her and she was having issues with her parents.

She wanted to get an abortion on those grounds way into her pregnancy.  She was claiming she was too distressed to have the baby.  She ended up having the baby and her parents are now raising the child while she gets her act together.

I'm sorry that is completely unacceptable when there is adoption and your ass should know what you are getting into. If the mother's physical health and she has a legitimate mental illness then yes I think late term abortions are okay.  

"mental distress" is very broad and although I support a woman's right to choose the idea of people just aborting babies for the hell of it bothers me.

by sweet potato pie 2008-07-04 06:37AM | 0 recs
what an insulting and outrageous

thing to say, that women who have late term abortions because "it's distressing to have a baby right now."

by Teacher1956 2008-07-06 01:09PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama hedging on abortion rights?

Fisa, public funds to religious organizations, Iraq and now this!  Choice is a bedrock Democratic Party position.  At least it was until the party was disassembled and moved to Chi-town.

What will tomorrow bring?  His position on health care (which was never universal) is subject to refinement after he visits with the CEOs of major insurance companies?

And next week?  Maybe a hint his SCOTUS nominees will all come from the pinnicle of conservatism, The University of Chicago.

by Tolstoy 2008-07-03 07:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama hedging on abortion rights?


by yitbos96bb 2008-07-04 07:50AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama hedging on abortion rights?

I know exactly what I'm talking about.  You obviously don't.  Look it up.  Obama, pandering to evangelicals, stated he would support an exception only for "physical" health.

by Tolstoy 2008-07-04 11:45AM | 0 recs
Doe v. Bolton

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doe_v._Bolt on#Broad_definition_of_health

Broad definition of health

The Court's opinion in Doe v. Bolton stated that a woman may obtain an abortion after viability, if necessary to protect her "health." The Court defined "health" broadly:
"     Whether, in the words of the Georgia statute, "an abortion is necessary" is a professional judgment that the Georgia physician will be called upon to make routinely. We agree with the District Court, 319 F. Supp., at 1058, that the medical judgment may be exercised in the light of all factors - physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman's age - relevant to the wellbeing of the patient. All these factors may relate to health.     "

This determination that abortion will be available all the way up until birth, for a wide variety of reasons, has proven to be controversial -- "at least as controversial as its holding respecting the period prior to viability."[2]

by Dumbo 2008-07-03 09:05PM | 0 recs
You might find this informative

It was written by a woman who underwent the procedure:

Uncommon Misconception

I think that pretty much says it all - but I would like to add one more thing.  I have a friend whose fetus died early in the pregnancy.  Because 'late term abortion' was banned in her state (no exceptions) she was forced to carry the remains of that dead fetus until her body naturally expelled it - or nine months expired (which ever came first).  She went the nine months, at which point they induced labor and she gave birth to a corpse.

It shattered her.  Absolutely shattered her.  Her 'mental distress' before, during and after was overwhelming.  That's what's wrong with Obama's stance.  There are always exceptions.  It should be the doctor who helps decide - not some politician who hasn't a clue.  

By the way - Obama's views on abortion haven't changed from before he was running.  I heard him state this very same opinion back in December of 2006.  I have to say - it bothered me then.  

by The Fat Lady Sings 2008-07-03 09:31PM | 0 recs
This is exactly the point

Women don't have abortions for ill-considered, selfish reasons.  Decisions of this sort are generally carefully considered.  Only the people immediately impacted by the abortion decision have the information, perspective and interest to evaluate each individual case.  This belief underpins the Democratic position on abortion rights.  Obama does not seem to understand that fact.

by dbrown04 2008-07-04 04:41AM | 0 recs
Re: You might find this informative

If there was a Health Exception as proposed by Obama and supported by Bill Clinton when he was President.... The above scenario would never have happened... WHICH IS VERY CLEAR TO ANYONE WHO HAS TAKEN MORE THAN A COUPLE OF MINUTES TO STUDY THIS ISSUE AND ACTUALLY UNDERSTAND IT.

Either you have no actual understanding of what he said and the issue involved OR you purposely are trying to spin this for your own agenda.  EITHER WAY, KNOCK IT OFF.

by yitbos96bb 2008-07-04 07:54AM | 0 recs
I think you're the one with the agenda here

My comment was meant to be illustrative.  Your blind put down speaks to your own fears.  Criticism = traitorous thinking in your book (same book the Bush White House reads, by the way).  Try getting past linear think-lines.  There's more than one way to look at anything, you know (or perhaps you don't).  

by The Fat Lady Sings 2008-07-04 10:16AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama hedging on abortion rights?

I consider it none of your goddamn business...

by jrsygrl 2008-07-04 07:55AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama hedging on abortion rights?

Your "concern" cole is duly noted.

by venician 2008-07-03 06:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama hedging on abortion rights?

STFU.  You have been making stupid remarks.  If you read my history here and my diaries, you would be a much better informed person.

I am holding my nose & voting for Obama in the GE.  BUT THAT doesn't mean I will shut up or point out the pandering that he is doing that is destroying his support with the democrats.

Remember, Hillary got the majority of registered democratic voters in the primary.  Obama didn't.  He should be trying to get his fucking base in line with him, not this stupid pandering to the f'ing right.

this is more than moving to the center.  This is going over the line and into republican territory.

by colebiancardi 2008-07-04 08:11AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama hedging on abortion rights?

Mental stress only leads to silly things such as:

1. Post partum depression ( mother does not want to have anything w/ the child)
2. Munchausen by proxy syndrome ( kill the child)

Hardly a reason to be worried about those 2.

by roxfoxy 2008-07-03 08:56PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama hedging on abortion rights?


Seriously, you just made one of the most ignorant statements I have ever seen.  THat argument has no bearing on the issue at hand and to even make it shows you have NO UNDERSTANDING of the issue and are not willing to take the time to educate yourself.

by yitbos96bb 2008-07-04 07:58AM | 0 recs
Anyone without a uterus should
STFU about abortion.  IMHO.
And a male politician who said that would be applauded by women.
by kosnomore 2008-07-04 04:15AM | 0 recs
Re: Anyone without a uterus should

Your right, because women reproduce Asexually... OH WAIT THEY DON'T.  

Please take your own advice

by yitbos96bb 2008-07-04 07:59AM | 0 recs
And do you squeeze the kid out yer junk?
 Carry them for 9 months?  Nurse them?
I didn't think so.
by kosnomore 2008-07-06 05:28PM | 0 recs
He better give the base

a wink wink.  He must really feel that these wingnuts will fall for anything.  The problem with Obama's strategy is that they'll hit him for even supporting late-term abortion to begin with, so he'll gain no points that way.

What the hell is up with this guy; he was already leading McCain without having to shift rightward and yet even with that shift, people may call bullshit on him (e.g. they want discrimination in the faith-based program).  So he loses his base without gaining anything among the wingnuts.

by Blazers Edge 2008-07-03 05:48PM | 0 recs
Re: He better give the base

The problem is that at this point I am not sure he is even pandering. Maybe this is who he really is.

Makes me wonder: Is nothing sacred?

by ajain 2008-07-03 05:50PM | 0 recs
Re: He better give the base

He has been all along.  He's no progressive.  The difference is that now a lot of folks can't occupy their time with hating on Hillary, so they're actually starting to notice.

by daria g 2008-07-03 08:56PM | 0 recs
Re: He better give the base

This last 24 hours has been a lot of fun.

by rankles 2008-07-03 11:47PM | 0 recs
You know

If you said this during the primaries, fine, but if you're a Democrat at this juncture and are gleeful about the candidate having a rough time...your priorities are seriously skewed.  Enjoy your schadenfraude.  If Obama loses and McCain appoints a pro-life, anti-privacy judge to replace Stevens or Ginsburg on the SC, will you enjoy that.

I enjoyed the poll that had Obama up by 5 in Montana.  I'd like a Democrat to be in the White House.

No, I'm not happy with some of the actions Obama has taken, particularly his weakness on FISA, but this issue seems a tempest in a teapot and not anything like what the poster (or more so, many commenters) are saying...

by thurst 2008-07-04 08:57AM | 0 recs
Re: He better give the base

He's not losing his base.  Certainly not over this "issue"...  He is pro-choice.

by JenKinFLA 2008-07-03 05:50PM | 0 recs
Re: He better give the base

Obama is NOT pro-choice. From Illinois NOW:

As a State Senator, Barack Obama voted `present' on seven abortion bills, including a ban on 'partial birth abortion,' two parental notification laws and three 'born alive' bills. He chose political cover over standing and fighting for his convictions

by Xov Wonk 2008-07-03 07:54PM | 0 recs
Re: He better give the base

Obama is pro-choice ( btw, surprised you actually made a comment instead of the usual troll-rates without cause).

He has a 100% rating from NARAL for three consecutive years.

by JenKinFLA 2008-07-04 07:53AM | 0 recs
Obama is NOT pro-choice

Again from Illinois NOW:

In each case, the right vote was clear, but Senator Obama chose political cover over standing and fighting for his convictions.

"When we needed someone to take a stand, Senator Obama took a pass. He wasn't there for us then and we don't expect him to be now."

by Xov Wonk 2008-07-04 10:30AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama is NOT pro-choice

To say that Obama is not pro-choice is an idiotic statement.

by JenKinFLA 2008-07-05 09:07AM | 0 recs
Re: He better give the base

My GOD, The trolls or the stupid are out in force.  Go away troll.  Or if stupid, educate yourself.  This argument has been debunked numerous times.

by yitbos96bb 2008-07-04 08:00AM | 0 recs
Re: He better give the base

Indeed, the myth that Obama is "pro-choice" has been debunked many times by the National Organization for Women in Illinois -- his HOME state, who REFUSED to endorse him for President.

by Xov Wonk 2008-07-04 10:34AM | 0 recs
Re: He better give the base

Provide a link there little troll.

by yitbos96bb 2008-07-04 08:01AM | 0 recs
Re: He better give the base

Even though those votes were taken at the REQUEST of Planned Parenthood, against Obama's own objections, as part of a legislative strategy "developed by Planned Parenthood to stop Republican attacks on pro-choice candidates."

In Illinois, 'present' is equivalent to 'no'.  You're parroting incorrect talking points from the primary which doesn't contribute to an open and honest dialogue.

http://www.time-blog.com/swampland/2008/ 01/obama_campaign_defends_present.html

http://www.barackobama.com/factcheck/200 8/01/08/fact_check_obamas_strong_proch.p hp

by semiquaver 2008-07-04 08:21AM | 0 recs
Your info from BO doesn't cut it

From Illinois NOW:

To be clear, voting "present" on those bills was a strategy that IL NOW did not support. At that time, we made it clear to the legislators that we disagreed with the strategy. We wanted legislators to take a stand against the harmful anti-choice bills being brought to the floor of the Illinois State Senate.

Voting "present" does not demonstrate leadership and does not send the clarion signal that one is unwavering in their support of a woman's right to choose.

IL NOW knew that those bills were unacceptable to women....the strategy to vote "present" was devised to give political cover to legislators in conservative districts. State Senator Barack Obama did not represent a conservative district and he could have voted "no" with little negative consequence in his district.

by Xov Wonk 2008-07-04 10:43AM | 0 recs
Re: He better give the base

Exactly.  He cannot throw his base under the bus to please the wingnuts, because run over basers will not vote.  He is already in trouble in possibly not getting a lot of Democratic votes in the GE, he is working to make that a certainty with things like this.

by Scotch 2008-07-03 06:28PM | 0 recs
Re: He better give the base

Really, show us your proff.

by venician 2008-07-03 06:48PM | 0 recs
Re: He better give the base

Obama isn't trying to appeal to either the right-wing or the left-wing absolutists on this issue, because he's not pursuing the Rovian 50/49 strategy of mobilizing the base to barely win. He's trying to appeal to the large majority of americans, whose position is somewhere between the two, because if he wins the middle-ground, he wins 60/40, triggering a fundamental realignment of politics in the US, and the Democratic party dominates the US for decades.


by laird 2008-07-04 12:42AM | 0 recs
Obama =Bush Lite?

Smart? In the primary, it was called "triangulation" and routinely criticized.

by Xov Wonk 2008-07-04 11:09AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama hedging on abortion rights?
No... to answer your question, he is not hedging on abortion rights.
That he disagrees with an idiotic decision by this latest SCOTUS is proof enough.
by JenKinFLA 2008-07-03 05:49PM | 0 recs

actually backed him up on this one; this one seems to be a blatant wink-wink but it may backfire on him if the base doesn't feel it's a wink-wink and the wingnuts don't buy the shit he's selling.

by Blazers Edge 2008-07-03 05:50PM | 0 recs

Looks like somebody needs a hug.

by spacemanspiff 2008-07-03 05:52PM | 0 recs

I thought you were leaving?


Don't let the door hit you...

by rankles 2008-07-03 11:48PM | 0 recs

NARAL was in the tank since the primaries. They are making a political calculation, which happens to be correct. Regardless of his position he will be better for NARAL than John McCain.

by souvarine 2008-07-03 05:56PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama hedging on abortion rights?

He was a little more clear than just "mental distress", the problem must be physical: "I think it has to be a serious physical issue that arises in pregnancy"

Two things here: once again this is not a departure for Obama, he was never particularly strong on women's issues, and he has always been soft on abortion rights. He voted present for a reason.

Secondly, this is the first general election issue where he unambiguously demonstrates a major difference from Hillary Clinton's positions.

by souvarine 2008-07-03 05:52PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama hedging on abortion rights?

Stop... just stop now.

Bringing up the "present" issue?  Really...?  NARAL IL and Planned Parenthood have both praised and endorsed him.

NARAL has given him 100% for three years.


by JenKinFLA 2008-07-03 05:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama hedging on abortion rights?

All I am saying is that it is absurd at this point to pretend that this statement to Relevant is anything new for Obama. He does not take the strong pro-choice position on late term abortions, and he never has.

by souvarine 2008-07-03 05:58PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama hedging on abortion rights?

He voted against the partial birth abortion ban.  Not everybody else did, as I recall.

by Reaper0Bot0 2008-07-03 06:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama hedging on abortion rights?

Your comment currently is rated:

Re: Obama hedging on abortion rights? (2.00 / 0)

How does this happen?  Did someone who mojo'd you get banned?

by semiquaver 2008-07-04 08:24AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama hedging on abortion rights?

No, you said he was never really strong on women's issues...  That, I, and many pro-choice organizations, take exception to.  Then you pulled out the moldy-oldey "present" issue.

He is strong on women's rights.

That he wants a health exclusion on this issue is proof.

by JenKinFLA 2008-07-03 06:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama hedging on abortion rights?

That he does not consider mental health "health" is my proof.

by souvarine 2008-07-03 06:04PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama hedging on abortion rights?

sou, you have no integrity when you bring up the bogus "present" shit. It shows how bitter you still are and how you have become no better then athe Mctrolls.

by venician 2008-07-03 06:52PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama hedging on abortion rights?

You are welcome to pretend his present votes meant whatever you like, that was the point. To preserve ambiguity.

For me they demonstrated his opinion on issues like late term abortions. I find that his response in this interview confirms my theory of what those votes meant, so to me Barack Obama's behavior here is consistent with my interpretation of those present votes.

I would be curious to understand how your theory of Obama's present votes is consistent with his response to the question from Relevant.

by souvarine 2008-07-03 07:11PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama hedging on abortion rights?

It's getting rather sad how stuck in the primaries you are. I have no interest in rehashing them, especially with someone who is blinded by her anger. But thanks for your "concern".

by venician 2008-07-03 07:57PM | 0 recs
How does that square with the responses his

campaign officially gave to Reproductive Health Reality Check last December:
Q: "Does Sen. Obama support any restrictions on abortion, or does he believe it should be entirely up to women?"
A: "Obama supports those restrictions that are consistent with the legal framework outlined by the Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade."

That's a loophole large enough to drive a truck through.

by suzieg 2008-07-04 12:43AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama hedging on abortion rights?

That was before his statement which came out yesterday.  

by Tolstoy 2008-07-04 12:07PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama hedging on abortion rights?

He voted present for a reason?

This bullshit deadender talking point again?

This is sooooooooo 2 months ago.

Your talking points are old and stale.

Not even worth the time to refute this point.

by spacemanspiff 2008-07-03 05:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama hedging on abortion rights?

Well, that would be news to the Republican Party that Obama is weak on abortion rights.  Here are some titles written by fairly prominent Pubs: "Obama is the most pro-abortion candidate ever" and "Obama's abortion extremism."

by Blazers Edge 2008-07-03 05:56PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama hedging on abortion rights?

Repubs dont need degrees to hot Obama on abortion. I can't see what great upside there is for him. It just makes me feel uncomfortable.

by ajain 2008-07-03 05:58PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama hedging on abortion rights?


(not hot)

by ajain 2008-07-03 05:59PM | 0 recs
Do I think this guy is a strong supporter

of abortion rights?  Absolutely.  That line he blurted out "I don't want my daughters punished by a baby" I think captures his true beliefs (though he claims it was a response to a question about birth control).  I think he should embrace his past record on this issue rather than try to fool the wingnuts; they will never give him the time or day because they don't do nuance.  It's either Roe v. Wade or not to them.

by Blazers Edge 2008-07-03 06:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Do I think this guy is a strong supporter

That is hardly unusual. Many anti-choice people have had or paid for abortions. Few people will deny themselves or their children the choice.

by souvarine 2008-07-03 06:06PM | 0 recs
Re: Do I think this guy is a strong supporter

I disagree; the wingnuts were all up-in-arms about that statement that he made.  The video of him making that statement is going to be played in Colorado now until election night.

by Blazers Edge 2008-07-03 06:09PM | 0 recs
Re: Do I think this guy is a strong supporter

They have made the inverse calculation that NARAL made. McCain will be better for them than Barack Obama, no matter how much Obama softens the Democratic position on choice.

by souvarine 2008-07-03 06:13PM | 0 recs
Re: Do I think this guy is a strong supporter

Here is the problem.  When a candidate changes his views from those he has expressed and pushed in the past just to get votes, then he can't be trusted to change back to his old way of thinking.  A person cannot put his finger to the wind, state two different views, and expect to be trusted.  Noone knows what that person actually stands for and will not, rightfully so, take a chance on them.  

by Scotch 2008-07-03 06:23PM | 0 recs
Re: Do I think this guy is a strong supporter

It seems to be confusing to people here, but Obama is a moderate, who takes moderate, nuanced positions on controversial issues. I think that during the primaries progressives interpreted this as being more progressive, and now that we're into the general election it's becoming clear that Obama was serious when he said that he wanted to have a political dialogue that crossed party lines to pragmatically get things done. This might frustrate some, but I think that it creates the opportunity for the Democratic party to dominate the mainstream, reducing the Republican party to the right-wing fringe, which is much better for the country.

by laird 2008-07-04 12:31AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama hedging on abortion rights?

His interview with Relevant is intended to counteract that false perception. Barack Obama is not doctrinaire on choice.

by souvarine 2008-07-03 06:00PM | 0 recs
Why does he have to tepidly support

reproductive rights for women - he's not sure when life begins, says that abortion should not be outlawed on religious grounds, but women should consult with their pastors before making a decision. Why do I feel that the democratic party under his tutelage has become the republican "lite" party?

by suzieg 2008-07-04 12:59AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama hedging on abortion rights?

OMG YOU ARE SO RIGHT!!! We've all been suckered!!! Is it too late to nominate Hillary?!?!?!?!?!!??!!?

by Johnny Gentle Famous Crooner 2008-07-03 06:39PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama hedging on abortion rights?

He voted 'present' at the behest of Illinois' state-wide abortion rights coalition.  It was part of their strategy to get cover for enough moderate Republicans to defeat an absolutely horrible anti-choice bill the conservatives were pushing.  They sat him and several other Dems down, asked them to vote a certain way and they did exactly what that organization asked of them because they were all pro-choice Democrats.  Don't sit here and try lying about who he is or what he believes on this issue.  Obama is strong on this issue and always has been.

by Whash 2008-07-03 06:51PM | 0 recs
Nobody twisted Obama's arm

From Illinois NOW:

To be clear, voting "present" on those bills was a strategy that IL NOW did not support. At that time, we made it clear to the legislators that we disagreed with the strategy. We wanted legislators to take a stand against the harmful anti-choice bills being brought to the floor of the Illinois State Senate.

Voting "present" does not demonstrate leadership and does not send the clarion signal that one is unwavering in their support of a woman's right to choose.

by Xov Wonk 2008-07-03 07:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Nobody twisted Obama's arm

Uprated for TR abuse by serial abuser Can I Haz Moar Snark.

Admins?  Take some action, please?


by rankles 2008-07-03 11:51PM | 0 recs
I agree on this

Third trimester abortions, even late second trimester, should be legal to spare the life and health of the mother only.  

If you can't make this decision in 4.5 months, I don't know that you should continue to have free right to terminate the baby.  

I bet that I can be convinced that this is extreme - someone will make a good example of a case where there should be an exception to this.

by activatedbybush 2008-07-03 06:04PM | 0 recs
Re: I agree on this

The situation is that the pregnancy and its effects do not end at 4.5 months.  A woman's body continues to change and a mental health situation that has not developed in 4.5 months could easily develop within the last trimester.

This isn't a discussion of whether a woman changes her mind and decides she doesn't want the baby, it is referring to actual mental health issues, many of which are physical, by the way, for instance a major disruption in the chemical balance of the body, which are health issues as much as physical illnesses in the body.

by Scotch 2008-07-03 06:19PM | 0 recs
Mental health issues should be considered

They should be covered in a "life and health" exception to a late term abortion ban.  

by activatedbybush 2008-07-07 07:12AM | 0 recs
Re: I agree on this

How on earth could this have been troll rated :(

by vinc 2008-07-03 11:10PM | 0 recs
Go join the republican party -you have no place in

the democratic party if you make yourself judge and jury about women's reproductive rights!! No one but the woman and her doctor should make the decision about her reproductive choice! PERIOD!!!!

by suzieg 2008-07-04 01:02AM | 0 recs
May I suggest that you go out

and buy and island, declare your own nation, and make yourself undisputed leader of that nation.   Then you can make decisions about who is and is not in your party, and what believe and say.

I guess that by your logic, a woman with an 8 1/2 month old fetus should be free to drive a spear into her belly to end her pregnancy.  It is her unconditioned choice on whether or not to reproduce - right up to the moment of birth - right?  

I believe that your position is barbaric and inherehntly irrational.   It ascribes no human rights to a viable fetus.   Exactly where do you propose drawing the line here?   Is it the fact that the fetus is completely dependent on its mother for survival?  Not exactly, since your stance would actually enable the termination of a viable fetus (one that could survive on its own post induced delivery).   So what is it exactly?   There are many old and impaired people who are more dependent on others for their survival than an 8 1/2 month old fetus is.   Grandma can't feed herself or go to the toilet - she is dependent on others to live - should the caregiver be allowed to terminate grandma?  

You are being irrational and uncivilized.

by activatedbybush 2008-07-07 07:09AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama hedging on abortion rights?

I hope this is some pandering to evangelicals that he doesn't actually believe, but even then minimizing the seriousness of mental afflictions of pregnant women is simply a way of saying that women should not have control over their bodies even if are in deep emotional and psychological distress. The extension of that argument is that women get cranky and emotional and dont know what is 'the right thing to do' in their emotional fits. It is highly patronizing and pathetic.

You obviously have no idea how the human body works during pregnancy do you? This is a very ignorant and dare I say pathetic comment. Cranky and emotional are not medical terms nor do they scratch the surface of all the changes experienced during pregnancy. It is important to look at things in a case by case basis and completely closing the door on one option can put the patient at a much bigger risk than before.

Do you also call Post Partum Depression the Baby Blues?

Like Tom Cruise do you believe these women are just "emotional" and "cranky" and therefore should not seek treatment?

Their is a reason why women become distraught and depressed during pregnancy and their mental health should be taken into consideration in the desicion making process.

I work in the medical field and approve of his stance on this. Women do have a choice to choose but late term abortions when the mother has no physical risk are dangerous to all involved and counterproductive.  

I'd love to go on about this but I've got to run. Maybe I'll pop up in a better written diary on the subject and comment further.

by spacemanspiff 2008-07-03 06:08PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama hedging on abortion rights?

Nice, Justice Anthony Kennedy weighs in.

"It seems unexceptionable to conclude some women come to regret their choice to abort the infant life they once created and sustained."

by souvarine 2008-07-03 06:11PM | 0 recs
Spoken like an ignorant man!

by suzieg 2008-07-04 01:03AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama hedging on abortion rights?

I think the diarist is not saying that she believes that crankyness and emotional fits are what women go through, but that the argument that mental health should not be taken into account is an extension of that argument.  In other words, not recognizing the impact of mental health in a pregnancy is saying that women just are being emotional and cranky.  

by Scotch 2008-07-03 06:14PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama hedging on abortion rights?

well, thanks for the defense. I was going to say the exact same thing.

I'm not dumb enough to simplify mental illnesses to crankiness. I was just saying that the argument against including mental health of pregnant women in the category of "health of mothers" is a stupid and patronizing argument.

by ajain 2008-07-03 06:22PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama hedging on abortion rights?

Well said!

Spacemanspiff's not a doctor, but he plays one in real life.


by fogiv 2008-07-03 07:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama hedging on abortion rights?

Apparently Obama doesn't have experience with mentally ill individuals. That is sad to see.  This approach certainly doesn't bode well for his intent to push for mental health parity in health care, either.  

Having worked with mentally ill individuals through a good part of my career, I have seen women with severe mental health problems go through hell during pregnancies.  Very often medications are withdrawn during pregnancies so that there is no effect on the fetus.  However, those medications are absolutely necessary for some to even function and to stay alive, to avoid suicide or dangerous behavior.  That is only one way of thousands of ways that mental health is affected by pregnancies.  There are as many more situations as there are women that can happen in the area of mental health during pregnancies.  Obama should get some real time life experience before he tries to impose his beliefs and ignorance of health onto others. people.

by Scotch 2008-07-03 06:08PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama hedging on abortion rights?

That's right, you make sure that damn straw man doesn't get out of here alive.

by Johnny Gentle Famous Crooner 2008-07-03 06:41PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama hedging on abortion rights?

Holy fuck.  The image that conjured was immensely funny.  I had to call my girlfriend in to read it.

Well done!

by fogiv 2008-07-03 07:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama hedging on abortion rights?

Oh, Xov Wank, will you ever stop being a douchebag?

by Johnny Gentle Famous Crooner 2008-07-03 07:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama hedging on abortion rights?

troll rated for personal attack

by rankles 2008-07-03 11:53PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama hedging on abortion rights?

I don't like this type of rhetoric at all. His recent shifts to the right have been getting more and more disturbing. He's better than McCain, but he's going so far over, it would be really hard for me to not focus on other races this fall and only give him my vote, and nothing else.

by zcflint05 2008-07-03 06:19PM | 0 recs
I suppose the strategy is to blur

the difference between him and McCain among the wingbats while playing up the differences between him and McCain among Democrats.  I disdain this strategy even more than the 50-state strategy but who knows if it'll work.  

The wingnuts want you go to the full 100 yards; if you go 20 yards, they'll call you on your bullshit.  I'll give him the benefit of the doubt on this one given his "accidential" punished with a baby comment and call this one a pure wink-wink.

by Blazers Edge 2008-07-03 06:27PM | 0 recs
Re: I suppose the strategy is to blur

I guess, but where do you draw the line with that strategy? What happens if he picks Hagel as Veep? I don't think it would happen, but I didn't think he'd drift this far right in the short period of time since the primary ended. If he's playing that game I think it's a dangerous one--and him picking Hagel or Nunn might be the last straw for any of us. The reason why I didn't back this guy in the primary is because I wasn't really down for all this "post-partisan" rhetoric he was throwing out; my issues are far too important to me to compromise to the level that it seems like he is able too.

by zcflint05 2008-07-03 06:31PM | 0 recs
better than McCain? - see following story

realclearpolitics.com/articles/2008/06/p rochoice_democrats_and_john_m.html

June 10, 2008
Pro-Choice Democrats and John McCain
By Froma Harrop


A big sticking point for wavering Democrats will be McCain's position on reproductive rights. Clinton's backers are overwhelmingly pro-choice, and they'll want to know this: Would McCain stock the Supreme Court with foes of Roe v. Wade? The 1973 decision guarantees a right to abortion.

The answer is unclear but probably "no." While McCain has positioned himself as "pro-life" during this campaign, his statements over the years show considerable latitude on the issue.

 In a 1999 interview with the San Francisco Chronicle editorial board, McCain said, "I would not support repeal of Roe v. Wade, which would then force X number of women in America" to undergo "illegal and dangerous operations."

read more....

by suzieg 2008-07-04 01:10AM | 0 recs
Dr. Obama knows best, ladies

The idea that a politician and not a physician can determine what constitutes "health" is  unacceptable to me. My limited understanding of Roe vs. Wade  (http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/ib13.html ) is that the Supreme Court in the 1970's determined that the definition of what constitutes a health risk to the mother should be left to the attending physician and that "if an individual practitioner abuses the privilege of exercising proper medical judgment, the usual remedies, judicial and intra-professional, are available."
How Senator Obama would legislate the distinction betrween a  "mental" or "physical" health threat is beyond me.
Rather, the distinction is a political one. It's against the best health interests of women and is rooted, rather in the right-wing notion that "In the pro-life community, everyone knows that a
mental health exception means no restrictions," Rep. Phill Kline, R-Shawnee, Kansas

"http://www.cjonline.com/stories/043098/c yb_abortiondebate.shtml"

Senator Obama needs advisors who can ADVOCATE for women's health. No wonder that some of Senator Clinton's supporters are still assessing their commitment to him.

by Puffin 2008-07-03 06:34PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama hedging on abortion rights?

He's acting as though he wants to be the kind of President who takes the various views on controversial issues, including the vast middle, and then tries to articulate a position which may leave the absolutists unhappy that they didn't get all they wanted.

This is different than the Cheney approach, where after you get (or steal) 50% + 1 vote you say and do anything you want.

I have a feeling hat Obama is going to win big and leave the left and right fringes in a complete mental breakdown.

by xdem 2008-07-03 06:44PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama hedging on abortion rights?

I hope you're right. I'ves pent my entire life watching a political system that has been held hostage at one point or another by radicals of both stripes and I'm sick and tired of it.

by spirowasright 2008-07-03 06:53PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama hedging on abortion rights?

That's known as post-partisan. It seems some people don't know the meaning of that term.

by MS01 Indie 2008-07-03 06:59PM | 0 recs
I'm so fuc^&@g fed up of men making decisions

on women reproductive rights/options as if women are not smart enough to make their own decisions!  

by suzieg 2008-07-04 01:15AM | 0 recs
is this for effing real??????

by canadian gal 2008-07-03 06:59PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama hedging on abortion rights?

Let's see....

abortion, evangelical, iraq war, fisa, gun control...

sure wishin' they had selected hillary instead....

at least SHE has experience and CAN WIN.

by nikkid 2008-07-03 07:06PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama hedging on abortion rights?

Couldn't even win her own party's primary. What makes you think she'd be a better GE candidate?

by MS01 Indie 2008-07-03 07:22PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama hedging on abortion rights?

Yeah, Obama is a big fat empty suit.

by rankles 2008-07-03 11:55PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama hedging on abortion rights?

Nope, not that she didn't try. Neither did he.

by MS01 Indie 2008-07-04 08:01AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama hedging on abortion rights?

rankles, you are sooooo funny. I think I agree with the others that think you are succeeding engels as our favorite.

by MS01 Indie 2008-07-04 08:02AM | 0 recs
She didn't cheat and steal delegates to get the


by suzieg 2008-07-04 01:15AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama hedging on abortion rights?

she DID win her own party's primary....

she simply wasn't SELECTED by the super d's because she didn't PAY THEM OFF like he did

by nikkid 2008-07-04 07:28AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama hedging on abortion rights?

Wrong. Even if the unsanctioned primaries in FL and MI had been counted as is, she would have only gained 101 pledged delegates. Obama's edge in pledged delegates from all of the other states was greater than this. Therefore, MI & FL had no bearing on the results.

by MS01 Indie 2008-07-04 08:00AM | 0 recs
I wonder why he chose to make those

comments in a Christian magazine?  

by louisprandtl 2008-07-03 07:21PM | 0 recs
Here's a theory


by Xov Wonk 2008-07-03 07:31PM | 0 recs

That epithet is the mirror image of the Right Wing's American Flag Lapel Pin.

Shame on you for using it.

by xdem 2008-07-03 07:49PM | 0 recs
Re: P-A-N-D-E-R-I-N-G.

Nope, shame on Obama for pandering to right wing evangelicals. And shame on him for compromising his principles by wearing a lapel pin -- once again to PANDER.

by Xov Wonk 2008-07-03 07:57PM | 0 recs
Re: P-A-N-D-E-R-I-N-G.

Flag pin

I've lost count...what a total and complete tool.

by rankles 2008-07-03 11:56PM | 0 recs
Re: P-A-N-D-E-R-I-N-G.

I'm rubber and you're glue. Anything you say to me bounces off me and sticks to you!

by xdem 2008-07-04 09:35AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama hedging on abortion rights?

"Now this is not a direct contradiction to what he said per se"

What the fuck do you REALLY mean... per ounce...

by nogo postal 2008-07-03 07:24PM | 0 recs
There goes the arbortion

argument for the Obamacans to blackmail voters back into the fold.

Told you so.

by LatinoVoter 2008-07-03 07:50PM | 0 recs
Re: There goes the arbortion

uprated for HR abuse

by rankles 2008-07-03 11:57PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama hedging on abortion rights?

as for
[editor's note, by ajain]: As has been noted in the comments, mental health has to be included in conversations about health. So this interview also gives us a hint that Obama may not consider mental health as part of "health", which is, by itself, a pretty big revelation from my perspective. "

an FYI for you...ya know ajan..try to watch the term "us"...you should phrase it ""So this interview also gives ME...etc..after all you are only speaking for yourself.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kdTEQOLdY yk

by nogo postal 2008-07-03 08:13PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama hedging on abortion rights?
good to read LVoter around again...
last time I read you you were talking about your connections with the Latino community rising up against Obama...how is that going?
by nogo postal 2008-07-03 08:22PM | 0 recs
Very limitted limitation.

Mental distress / mental health. Further, he's only talking partial birth abortion, a procedure performed after the fetus is full formed, half-way through delivery after a 9 month term. He's saying you can't say, "Oh I don't want to finish birthing this baby after carrying it 9 months and not seeking an earlier abortion simply because it's upsetting."

Any other abortions that do not involve terminating a fully viable fetus that is already being birthed are not to be restricted. Further, if the health of the mother is threatened (presumably mental or physical as that has long been the accepted definition), partial birth abortion is to be allowed. However, if a mother wants to abort the fetus 'just cuz', she will need to do it at some point before she has carried it to term and gone into labor.

Frankly, I don't see how this position can be offensive. And don't give me slippery slope arguments; policy can not be made only in the extremes. Lines must be drawn, for example the distinction between killing for revenge and killing to defend your own life.

by warmwaterpenguin 2008-07-03 08:41PM | 0 recs
Realized how inflammatory that last bit sounds...

And want to clarify. I was citing murder laws as an example about the government defining lines that are not in the extreme, not comparing abortion to murder (which I certainly don't believe).

I was saying that the extremes would be to outlaw all killing or to outlaw none, and that defining a middle position does not necessarily set us on a slippery slope.

Another less incendiary example would be preventing citizens from purchasing ballistic missiles. A full right to bear arms would allow this. No right at all could theoretically ban swiss army knives. A middle position is pursued and does not condemn us to slippery sloping.

by warmwaterpenguin 2008-07-03 08:45PM | 0 recs
Re: Very limitted limitation.

In the interview Obama specifically excluded mental health issues when he said "I think it has to be a serious physical issue that arises in pregnancy, where there are real, significant problems to the mother carrying that child to term."

Obama did not refer to Intact dilation and extraction (partial birth in pro-life terms) here, he refered to "late-term abortions". Late term is any time after 20 weeks, as many as two months before the fetus is viable.

I understand the impulse to minimize what he said, but the fact is that he outlined a dramatically more restrictive regime governing women's choice.

by souvarine 2008-07-03 09:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Very limitted limitation.

No he is not referring to someones change of mind and unhappiness.  Third term abortion is not legal right now in that circumstance.  He specifically said that it had to be a physical health problem.  There is no way to get him out of this.  His statement was clear in its intent.

by Scotch 2008-07-03 11:02PM | 0 recs

This is too much...

We knew he was a snake, and now we see how much of a snake he is.

And, of course I'll vote for him...

by MediaFreeze 2008-07-03 09:16PM | 0 recs
Just another McTroll diary

by Beren 2008-07-03 10:36PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama hedging on abortion rights?

A lot of this debate seems like sour grapes. Just because Obama is a man, doesn't mean he won't defend women's issues. The bitterness over not having a woman candidate seemed to be receding, but here it just pops up again like some sort of rehearsed outrage.

You realize that Obama said 'mental distress' and not mental illness right? Mental distress doesn't have the clearest definition in the world, but if you want to rage against Obama have at it. Obama will appoint supreme court justices that uphold a woman's right to control her body for at least the first six months of pregnancy(theoretically), while John McCain is on record saying that he will appoint justices to do the opposite. I mean really as one of the guys that stood against the politically wonderful position of banning the D and E procedure, you all are going to give him shit on this issue? The people that voted for that bill don't have to go back and face challengers that say they are stabbing babies in the back of the head. But Obama cared enough about how the bad policy would effect women(D and E was the safest late term abortion procedure), that he stood with them and will have to face the same criticisms in the fall.

I will always support the health of the mother as being the primary concern of any pregnancy, but even I'm not going to support the right to have an abortion past viability in a pregnancy with no complications. It's not a bright shining line, but it exists, and its a political and ethical loser.

And BTW making D and E illegal was the biggest F U to women I can think of who now have had complications and need the fetus removed in the last term. Expect more of that with McCain.  

by wengler 2008-07-04 01:32AM | 0 recs

Is it possible to give the rancor a rest, once and for all?

I'll be honest. I've been an Obama supporter since the primary season began. But I'm also a longtime admirer of the Clintons. I believe that President Clinton was the best president of my lifetime (I'm 41).

Let's be honest here, folks. Sen. Clinton didn't lose the nomination because, as some of you are alleging, she was cheated or because of misogyny or any other argument you come up with.

She lost because she was outsmarted and outworked by a better politician whose team had an amazing game plan.

As an Obama supporter, was I furious at Clinton at times throughout this process? Yes.

But now that the primary season is over, my anger has left, and I've returned to my normal state of admiring the Clintons again.

November 4 is what matters. These petty, pointless arguments need to stop, because they're serving us no useful purpose.

Sen. Obama is pro-choice. Do you think NARAL would have endorsed him if he wasn't?

Yes, he wears a flag pin now. Well, see, there are tens of millions of people who really weren't paying attention to the primary process, and he needs to define himself to these people -- the people who will determine who our next president is -- before those horrible internet rumors stick to him.

As I said, I believe the Bill Clinton was the best president of my lifetime. But did I agree with every single one of his decisions? Hell, no.

A President Obama will no doubt disappoint me at times, too.

You or I will never agree 100% with any president. But I'm guessing we all will agree way more with the decisions of President Obama than we would with President Mc... Ooh, I can't even finish that sentence.

Let's hug it out, people, and keep Nov. 4 in our sight at all times.

by BenderRodriguez 2008-07-04 02:53AM | 0 recs
What is McCain's position on this issue?

John McCain believes Roe v. Wade is a flawed decision that must be overturned, and as president he will nominate judges who understand that courts should not be in the business of legislating from the bench.


I can't imagine why the diarist didn't mention this.  

by Blue Neponset 2008-07-04 03:43AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama hedging on abortion rights?

As has been noted in the comments, mental health has to be included in conversations about health. So this interview also gives us a hint that Obama may not consider mental health as part of "health", which is, by itself, a pretty big revelation from my perspective.

"Mental distress" isn't a mental illness.

Mental illness is a medical condition.  Mental distress is an emotional response.  If you purposefully confuse a medical condition with an emotional response you are contributing to the already great misunderstanding that the public has about mental illness.  

Your update is pathetic.

by Blue Neponset 2008-07-04 05:29AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama hedging on abortion rights?

This is the exact question I have.  I am far from an expert on this topic.  Honestly, I've never even considered this particular question before.  But when I read this, I was wondering if there was a distinction between mental distress and mental illness or mental health.  You seem to think so, and I would ask others to directly question the Obama campaign if there is a difference before they start hyperventilating.  Again.

by cycl06 2008-07-04 05:37AM | 0 recs
Oh man!

All of these debates around late-term abortions are dominated by the image of a perfect baby moments from a beautiful birth who is sliced and diced in its mother's womb.  This image is far from reality.  Generally speaking, women who have late-term abortions do so for very good reasons.

Consider first partial birth abortion.  This is a procedure that is done when a fetus has no brain.  The cranial cavity has filled with fluid and expanded hugely beyond its natural state.  Without crushing the cranial cavity, this brainless fetus cannot be removed vaginally.  The only other option is a c-section.  Nothing is gained for the fetus, the mother or society by prohibiting this procedure and forcing the women to have a c-section.

So now let's look at mental health.  Suppose a women is carrying a living fetus that her doctor has told her won't live outside the womb.  Many people would choose to let the pregnancy run to term and then allow the child to die a natural death.  

But not everyone.  I could easily imagine a woman who very much wanted a baby to find it extremely upsetting to continue to carry a baby that she knows is going to die.  In fact, learning that the baby she have been carrying for many months and in whom she has invested all her life-time aspirations is going to die, would naturally be a source of profound sadness and potentially clinical depression. Many women who find that they have lost a baby want desperately to try to get pregnant again.  In this situation, a late term abortion in which a live fetus is killed seems like a perfectly reasonable moral and medical judgement.

I simply do not see why Sen. Obama thinks that he should inject himself into these life and death situations that are the source of so much emotional anguish for a woman and her family.

by dbrown04 2008-07-04 05:32AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama hedging on abortion rights?

I find the comment by Obama to be shocking. A woman's right to choose is hers, hers alone and no one else's for ANY REASON. I do not support the ban on late term abortions. What a bunch of parsing going on here. We all know this ban weas a push from the right to achieve their goals of getting rid of a woman's right to choose altogether.

by linfar 2008-07-04 07:38AM | 0 recs
Ya'll do realize of course

that the vast majority of Americans are not ideological hardliners on the abortion issue.  Most Americans have a mixed opinion that allows for complete choice in the first trimester and takes a pro-life tack for the third.  Most folks seem to understand that a mass of undifferenciated cells is not a "baby" and a being that can survive outside the womb with medical support is a baby and not a "fetus".  

Liberals who use the same stupid "slippery slope" argument on abortion are about as annoying as the NRA doing the same with automatic weapons bans.  Thier purist approaches freeze dialogue, kill all hope of compromise and, as a result, again and again, THWART THE WILL OF THE VAST MAJORITY OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE.   Congratulations for that.

 For God's sake here, we are talking about a baby that could be delivered, survive and thrive as a premature infant.  Certainly different rules need to apply and only the most unreasonable ideologe cannot see that.

I'm proud that Obama is capable of standing up to the far Left with the same vigor he does to the far Right.  He picks and choose his positions it seems based on COMMON SENSE, the law and his own moral code.  Bully for that, for once, in a politician.  

by grassrootsorganizer 2008-07-04 08:15AM | 0 recs
Re: Ya'll do realize of course

I couldn't agree with you more.

I've long believed that probably 80% of Americans agree on the issues of abortion and guns. It's the tunnel-vision zealots on the left and right who have managed to cloud these issues for decades.

I am pro-choice, but I have voted for anti-abortion candidates. Here's a good example: Sen. Bob Casey. I would have walked over hot coals to vote for Casey over that clown Santorum. Do I agree with Casey on the abortion issue? No. But do I agree with Santorum on, let's see, anything? No.

This is the stark reality that politicians never will admit: If the Supreme Court tomorrow overturned Roe vs. Wade, and every state in the union subsequently banned abortions, middle-class and upper middle-class girls and women would go to Canada and Europe if they wanted an abortion.

The only females who would be affected are those who couldn't afford to go abroad.

It's not so much a matter of morality as it is one of reality.

And guns? Guns suck, right? I don't own one, but it's a Constitutional right to do so. That's the deal, folks. Should there be sensible laws on the books, say, prohibiting lunatics from having access to them? Yes.

But the ugly reality is this: the horror that happened at Virginia Tech last year will happen again. We are a nation of 300 million. Some of us are insane. And no law in the world is going to prevent someone hellbent on getting a gun from acquiring one.

by BenderRodriguez 2008-07-04 09:30AM | 0 recs
Re: Ya'll do realize of course

there should be a troll rating for immoral ambiguity and commenting when you don't know WTF you are talking about.

 See my comment to Obama below.

by Teacher1956 2008-07-06 11:45AM | 0 recs
Obama lining up with Family Research Council?

In April 2007, the issue of Kansas wiping out exceptions for partial birth abortion was discussed on the Diane Rehm show by a Family Research Council (I'm in Ohio so that immediately conjures up images of Ken Blackwell who is now a senior fellow there) individual and Kate Michelman.  Here's what I wrote about it, here's what I thought as I listened:

I've just finished listening to this very disturbing hour on Diane Rehm.

   About midway through the edition, the anti-abortion advocate from the Family Research Council (the group that anointed Ken Blackwell as a senior fellow), Cathy Cleaver Ruse, completely, totally and unbelievingly - in the wake of what we know now about the VaTech shooter and his mental health problems - devalued and discounted the role of a woman's mental health status when choosing to have a legal medical procedure.

   What did she say:

   Ruse was seeking to make her point that partial birth procedures are never medically necessary to save the life of the mother and that they are performed on healthy women.

   To make this point, Ruse referred to health statistics from the state of Kansas (which you can see here, and I have reviewed), the only state that has kept stats on partial-birth procedures. Then, she indicated that in 1999, 182 partial birth procedures were reported to have been performed in Kansas. Then, she emphasized that in all those instances, according to the report, physicians indicated that the major bodily function that would have been impaired if the procedure was not performed would be mental, not physical.

   So - to Ruse, mental health needs are not needs at all, and certainly not health needs. Want to tell that to the parents of the dead from Virginia Tech?

Mental health parity is finally being achieve on a number of levels.  A position by Obama such as this not only implies a less than equal status for mental health issues related to choice, but for every other context as well.  Do not underestimate how this could happen.

I do not know what he intended, re: the seriousness with which Obama views mental health issues - we need to know that.  But at a minimum, this is a very sloppy place to be and shows a lack of preparation and/or understanding for how such a position may impact the perception of mental health on many, many levels - not only as it relates to choice.

Who, by the way, do we want making the decision of whether a mental health issues rises to what threshold, exactly, before it matters?

Again - very problematic, not well thought out on Obama's part and we cannot have this happening on any regular basis.

by Jillmz 2008-07-04 07:17PM | 0 recs
Hey BO

first of all... MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS.

Secound of all.... women whoes babies will die at the moment of birth because they have nothing but a brain stem SHOULD NOT HAVE TO CARRY THE FETUS TO TERM AND MOURN THAT DEATH FOR TWO MONTHS BEFORE IT HAPPENS.

Those are the very reasons woman have late term abortions, you damn flip flopping religionist stooge. And yeah, it causes a bit of mental distress.

by Teacher1956 2008-07-06 11:47AM | 0 recs


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