Patterico's Pontifications


Obama: I Don’t Like Post-Viability Abortions for Mental Health Reasons — But I Vote for Laws and Supreme Court Justices Who Do

Filed under: 2008 Election,Abortion,General — Patterico @ 1:26 pm

Immediately below, I mention an AP article that soft-soaps Obama’s support for partial-birth abortion. But there is another aspect to the article that is worth a new post.

Namely, Obama claims to be against late-term abortions done only for the mental health of the mother. But what he doesn’t tell people is that the justices he would select would make his alleged position impossible to enforce. The justices John McCain would pick would likely be more in line with what Obama claims his position is.

Obama says:

I have repeatedly said that I think it’s entirely appropriate for states to restrict or even prohibit late-term abortions as long as there is a strict, well-defined exception for the health of the mother. Now, I don’t think that ‘mental distress’ qualifies as the health of the mother.

Well, that’s just lovely, Senator. But the problem is that the justices you claim to admire think the opposite.

Jan Crawford Greenburg lays out the law in detail, as well as Obama’s previous support for legislation that allows post-viability abortions for mental health reasons — exactly what Obama claims he opposes. Greenburg has put the question directly to the campaign:

[H]ere are some questions for the Obama campaign: Does Obama still support the Freedom of Choice Act? Would he appoint justices like Ginsburg — or like Thomas, Scalia, etc.? Would he direct his Solicitor General to file a brief supporting state abortion bans that did not include a mental health exception?

She also is asking the McCain campaign how they can criticize Obama for his flip-flops on this issue, while considering Mitt Romney for the VP slot. That’s not a bad question either.

I’m thinking it’s going to be fun watching campaign coverage from someone like Greenburg who knows what she’s talking about. Naturally, both campaigns will respond with pap — we already know that — but it is fun watching someone knowledgeable who is willing to sweat them on these important issues.

22 Responses to “Obama: I Don’t Like Post-Viability Abortions for Mental Health Reasons — But I Vote for Laws and Supreme Court Justices Who Do”

  1. The 1950’s R&B/Rock&Roll artist Big Joe Turner, the originator of “Shake Rattle & Roll” (later a hit for Bill Haley & The Comets) did a follow-up song called “Flip Flop & Fly”. Obama is now well entrenched in doing the first two; now, if he would just ‘fly’ away. . . .

    November can’t come soon enough.

    Icy Truth (614178)

  2. I’m surprised to hear that Baracky is making up policy as he goes along. Soon he will come out with a “clarifying” statement showing that he has “always said” that he is against partial-birth abortion. Or for it. Or whatever. It doesn’t really even matter. No one believes him anyway. They simply want him to save them.

    steve miller (724340)

  3. Obama’s campaign is quickly sinking under a tide of irrelevance – when your candidate forever is “triangulating” every issue on the face of the earth, sooner or later you have to actually make a decisive statement and stick to it. He keeps playing cutie – pie with the hope that no one else notices, but at last some in his adoring throngs are starting to catch on.

    He reminds me of the movie role that made Andy Griffith a star – in “A Face in the Crowd,” as a guy who soars to fame overnight, only to become drunk with power. “This whole country’s like my flock of sheep!”

    Dmac (ea35f7)

  4. Baracky is quickly becoming known as a liar who will say whatever it takes to get attention.

    Even the NYT recognizes that he can’t keep a position.

    Buyer’s remorse will soon set in.

    steve miller (724340)

  5. I Don’t Like Post-Viability Abortions for Mental Health Reasons — But I Vote for Laws and Supreme Court Justices Who Do

    If that were his actual position, I’d consider it a good thing. It’s a rare and valuable ability to uphold things that you find offensive or vile if you also believe them to be constitutionally protected. I’d rather have an individual who hates guns but recognizes the second amendment over a man who goes hunting but doesn’t think the second amendment means anything.

    Of course, he doesn’t claim to dislike these things, or to like them, from the selected page. He claims that it’d be appropriate to ban them.

    That part is very difficult to place with his FoCA co-sponsorship.

    gattsuru (1be9e7)

  6. Naturally, both campaigns will respond with pap

    Another smear.

    Vermont Neighbor (31ccb6)

  7. Patterico, you’re describing the fundamental premise which explains why liberals support judicial activism in general, and liberal judicial activism in particular.

    It takes them off the hook. They can rely on the cumbersomeness of the constitutional amendment process to keep judicially-mandated results in place, while (hypocritically) suggesting to the voting public (thereby fooling some of them all of the time) that if only this were still a matter amenable to legislative and executive action, they’d be willing to discuss compromises.

    Beldar (7bc9b6)

  8. Not only did Barack Obama previously support late term and partial birth abortions for mental health as well as physical health reasons, he defeated Illinois’ Born Alive Infant Protection Act in committee when he was in the Illinois Senate.

    The Born Alive Infant Protection Act was finally passed in 2005.

    The act requires that hospitals care for infants that survive an abortion attempt.

    See Jill Stanek at CitizenLink

    kimsch (2ce939)

  9. Hussein O’s postition on anything has the shelf life of milk in a car on a hundred degree day. I don’t think he’s campagning for POTUS, he campaigning for the number one position in the liars hall of fame.

    Scrapiron (c36902)

  10. #9 does not matter one iota to the faithful sycophants who fantasize about being his nancy boys, like harp, levi and lovetron.

    Saw a thread on another site saying “free the gitmo270″. I didn’t bother looking at it to save myself aggravation. So many really ignorant people in America hate America and love its enemies. I saw story about new citizens being sworn in today and one asshole was heckling Bush.

    Speaking of abortions, the Planned Parenthood crime syndicate expelled the local chapter here in Boca over problems with money, management and clinical conditions. Another business that gets our tax dollars for some reason.
    The feel good story locally was Mark Dean Schwab, who kidnapped, raped and killed an 11 y.o. The poor miscreant challenged the new lethal injection procedure. The kid was killed in ’91. Pity we can’t expedite the rest of mutants on death row like Mumia. My idea of a humane execution might entail piercing head with scissors and sucking the brains out. If its ok for abortions, how is it cruel and inhumane for killers?

    madmax333 (402fc8)

  11. I remember reading that California’s death row was falling apart due to overcrowding. (I misremember where I read this.)

    The snarky comment was something like: “Gee, if only there was some legal way of permanently reducing the population on Death Row…”

    Drumwaster (5ccf59)

  12. Now that amens have posted, can someone identify the jurists Obama claims to admire who consider “mental stress” a well-defined exception in late-term abortion bans?

    Greenberg writes: “Obama’s comments that he does not support mental health exceptions in so-called post-viability abortions (after 22 weeks) is squarely at odds with that holding, which remains the law of the land today.”

    Is Greenberg saying that Obama threw *all* mental health exceptions under the bus?

    steve (4447b9)

  13. steve – Baracky has stated that he would appoint jurists who viewed the primary role of SC Justice as one to bring about social and economic justice. Now, one may quibble with whether or not the Justices that would view the mental health exception in the broadest sense possible would necessarily be in the same group as those that seek social and economic justice, but it is abundantly clear that they both come from groups that read things into the Constitution that are not otherwise there.

    JD (a6d772)

  14. If men could become pregnant abortion wouldn’t even be debated. Abortions would be available to all who chose them without a second thought. If it’s your uterus in your body, then it goes without arguing that the sole decision should be yours and yours alone.

    Shaun (5961d1)

  15. Shaun, nice comment, but off-topic.

    It’s not whether abortion is a sacrament. It’s that Baracky now is changing his mind on his position about abortion.

    And that he supports killing an infant in the process of being born. I find it hard to call that “abortion” unless we also want to call it abortion when we strangle the infant immediately after birth.

    However, as long as the act is called “abortion,” then it is off-limits for discussion, I suppose.

    steve miller (724340)

  16. Abortions would be available to all who chose them without a second thought.

    Speculation at best, insulting at worst. I, for one have no objection for abortions performed to save the life of the mother (or perhaps pregnancies due to rape), but better than 99% of all abortions are done at the convenience of the mother, because having a baby would inconvenience her in some way.

    Because it’s all about protecting the woman from stretch marks, innit? How about just keeping their fucking legs closed? (No pun intended.) Abstinence has a 100% success rate at preventing pregnancies, not to mention preventing the spread of STDs.

    But self-control has never been a big part of the pro-choice arguments…

    Drumwaster (5ccf59)

  17. “Mental stress” is not a well defined exception.

    Greenberg appears to consider the observation Obama’s definitive and comprehensive ruling out of ANY mental health exception. She can label him the most unblushing panderer in recorded history, but that’s one imprecise exhibit.

    steve (4447b9)

  18. “Mental stress” is not a well defined exception.

    On that, we agree. It has grown to encompass so many things so as to make it meaningless.

    JD (a6d772)

  19. Don’t you guys understand?

    It is a clearly written Constitutional Right for a 14-year-old girl to have a publicly-financed week-37 abortion on a whim, and have the state lie to her parents about it for her.

    Obama’s just following the Constitution. Can’t you guys READ?

    Kevin Murphy (0b2493)

  20. By the way, is there any enumerated right that is held as absolutely as the made-up unenumerated abortion right?

    Kevin Murphy (0b2493)

  21. is there any enumerated right that is held as absolutely as the made-up unenumerated abortion right?

    The separation of church and State.

    (Oh, c’mon, I’m KIDDING…)

    Drumwaster (5ccf59)

  22. As a Christian, I emotionally do not believe in abortion, but intellectually, I remember the things that happen before abortion was legal. Rove v. Wade was decided 35 years ago. A large number of people do not remember when abortion was illegal. Women without the money to pay doctors that would perform safe abortions received back-alley abortions. Women also used coat hangers and other sharp items to induce abortions.

    Republicans Never Delivered Promised Abortion Law Change

    Why does anyone think John McCain will make any changes in the abortion law?

    As California’s governor, Ronald Reagan signed permissive abortion legislation that leads to many abortions. As a presidential candidate, he pledged to seek an anti-abortion constitutional amendment, but never fought hard for one.

    George W. Bush flip-flopped from his earlier stance on abortion when he ran for President. Bush has had 7.5 yrs and a Republican controlled Congress until 2006 – Bush did not achieve a constitutional amendment to outlaw abortion.

    There is a good article written by a doctor that treated the results of bad abortions: Repairing the Damage, Before Roe By Waldo L. Fielding, M.D.

    However, not simply coat hangers were used.

    Almost any implement you can imagine had been and was used to start an abortion — darning needles, crochet hooks, cut-glass salt shakers, soda bottles, sometimes intact, sometimes with the top broken off.

    Another method that I did not encounter, but heard about from colleagues in other hospitals, was a soap solution forced through the cervical canal with a syringe. This could cause almost immediate death if a bubble in the solution entered a blood vessel and was transported to the heart.

    The worst case I saw, and one I hope no one else will ever have to face, was that of a nurse who was admitted with what looked like a partly delivered umbilical cord. Yet as soon as we examined her, we realized that what we thought was the cord was in fact part of her intestine, which had been hooked and torn by whatever implement had been used in the abortion. It took six hours of surgery to remove the infected uterus and ovaries and repair the part of the bowel that was still functional.

    It is important to remember that Roe v. Wade did not mean that abortions could be performed. They have always been done, dating from ancient Greek days.

    What Roe said was that ending a pregnancy could be carried out by medical personnel, in a medically accepted setting, thus conferring on women, finally, the full rights of first-class citizens — and freeing their doctors to treat them as such.

    It is way past time to stop making abortion a one-issue decision for choosing a President. It is time to focus on the economy, Iraq war, gas prices, health care—the things that matter to everyone, except the wealthy that want a President that will make them richer.

    Julie (9d1565)

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