Strang: Based on emails we received, another issue of deep importance to our readers is a candidate’s stance on abortion. We largely know your platform, but there seems to be some real confusion about your position on third-trimester and partial-birth abortions. Can you clarify your stance for us?
Obama: I absolutely can, so please don’t believe the emails. 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. 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. Otherwise, as long as there is such a medical exception in place, I think we can prohibit late-term abortions.
The other email rumor that’s been floating around is that somehow I’m unwilling to see doctors offer life-saving care to children who were born as a result of an induced abortion. That’s just false. There was a bill that came up in Illinois that was called the “Born Alive” bill that purported to require life-saving treatment to such infants. And I did vote against that bill. The reason was that there was already a law in place in Illinois that said that you always have to supply life-saving treatment to any infant under any circumstances, and this bill actually was designed to overturn Roe v. Wade, so I didn’t think it was going to pass constitutional muster.
Ever since that time, emails have been sent out suggesting that, somehow, I would be in favor of letting an infant die in a hospital because of this particular vote. That’s not a fair characterization, and that’s not an honest characterization. It defies common sense to think that a hospital wouldn't provide life-saving treatment to an infant that was alive and had a chance of survival.
This law was designed to overturn Roe v. Wade? Please. If Obama truly believes that then maybe someone should take his law degree away.
I wish Obama would share the real reason he voted against this legislation - because that's what Planned Parenthood told him to do. Which is the same reason he is a co-sponor of and promised to sign the insidious Freedom of Choice Act (whose definition for health isn't "well-defined," it's non-existent) if he got a chance.
Maybe someone should ask Obama to explain how a law that states "a live child born as a result of an abortion shall be fully recognized as a human person and accorded immediate protection under the law" could overturn Roe v. Wade. Does Roe v. Wade protect the right to kill children who survive abortion? Have other states with Born Alive legislation used that legislation to challenge Roe? His defense of himself doesn't make a shred of sense to anyone who has actually read the law. But that's Obama's hope - that people will be too lazy to take the time to read the legislation to see if his defense is valid or not.
I also like the "defies common sense" assertion. Why does it defy common sense that a hospital providing abortions would want to save children who survive abortions? Just imagine those headlines!
Child survives after hospital tried to kill her!
Hospital's botched abortion leads to effort to save baby girl
Baby survives late-term abortion at local hospital
How many women about to give birth want to have their child born at a place where they're aborting children who are old enough to survive abortions?
I guess Obama knows his crowds. In front of an audience of pro-choicers, defend partial-birth abortion. In front of evangelicals, act like you're personally opposed to abortion. I do wonder what NARAL and pro-choice bloggers think about Obama saying he doesn't "think that 'mental distress' qualifies as the health of the mother."