Obama backs late, mental-health abortion: The Swamp
The Swamp
Posted July 5, 2008 4:54 PM
The Swamp

by Frank James

Sen. clarified his position today on mental-health exceptions to late-term abortions, saying he supports such exceptions and that comments he made during a recent magazine interview shouldn't be interpreted as opposing them.

As I wrote in an earlier posting, Obama raised eyebrows with an interview in Relevant magazine in which he said he opposed "mental distress" as a reason for aborting a fetus at or after roughly 22-weeks into a pregnancy, a so-called late-term abortion.

In saying that, it appeared that Obama was placing himself at odds with Roe v Wade and subsequent Supreme Court rulings which have upheld the constitutionality of mental-health exceptions.

But in a press availabilty on his campaign plane today on the flight from Butte, Mont. to St. Louis, Obama clarified what he meant.

Here's a transcript of the interchange as provided by the campaign.

Reporter: You said that mental distress shouldn't be a reason for late-term abortion?

Obama: "My only point is this -- historically I have been a strong believer in a women's right to choose with her doctor, her pastor and her family. And it is ..I have consistently been saying that you have to have a health exception on many significant restrictions or bans on abortions including late-term abortions.

In the past there has been some fear on the part of people who, not only people who are anti-abortion, but people who may be in the middle, that that means that if a woman just doesn't feel good then that is an exception. That's never been the case.

I don't think that is how it has been interpreted. My only point is that in an area like partial-birth abortion having a mental, having a health exception can be defined rigorously. It can be defined through physical health, It can be defined by serious clinical mental-health diseases. It is not just a matter of feeling blue. I don't think that's how pro-choice folks have interpreted it. I don't think that's how the courts have interpreted it and I think that's important to emphasize and understand."

According to Linda Douglass, the Obama campaign's senior spokesperson, the senator from Illinois was making a distinction in the magazine interview between medically diagnosed mental illness and the kind of mental distress that an unwanted pregnancy causes many a pregnant mother.

"Mental distress is not an illness." Douglass said. "He absolutely believes and has always said there has to be a health exception for serious physical and mental illness."

That makes sense and conforms to the senator's co-sponsorship of the Freedom of Choice Act legislation which, among other things, would codify a mental-health exception to late-term abortion prohibitions.

The problem for the senator was when he appeared to be making a clear demarcation between physical and mental health in his magazine interview by saying:

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...

He clearly needed to add one more thought to that statement. He did it today.

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Another day, another flip-flop. At this rate, he'll be to the right of McCain by the conventions. PUMA!!!

So he thinks that as long as you define mental health as physical health it'll be all good? what is this man smoking? Even though in his original statement to the Christian magazine that "it has to be a serious physical issue that arises in pregnancy". ?? This man is a complete liar and a total snake.

This man is the master of parsing. In any case, I'm glad he includes mental health in "health". I would, however, like to know what makes him think that women in "mental distress" (translation: hormonal fits) go and abort babies in their third trimester? Its a rare procedure and is not done on whims of the moment. While pandering to evangelicals, he makes late-term abortion sound like rocky road ice-cream: something one has when one is feeling down.

He's been doing a lot of that "clarifying" lately. Maybe he should try saying what he means and meaning what he says for once in his life. Oh wait, I forgot, he's a democrat.

I think what Obama does is float an argument....waits to see what the response is and if it doesn't float well he tries to backtrack. Either that or he's just plain unable to talk without a teleprompter. Either way, it's pathetic.

Another obama flip-flop...He's already has 15 different positions on Iraq...here's another.


I read that as being MORE restrictive than current law allows. He is backpedaling madly and attempting to take away rights currently enjoyed.

Read ABC's Jan Crawford (I think that's her name). She has a completely different take on this than you do -- and that has me a little confused. MY take -- Obama is changing his tune wildly. And you're helping him get away with it.

Plus -- for goodness sake -- the man is running for president. And he can't get his opinions/stands straight? Call him out for that, why don't you? This is the second day in a row he's had to say "oops! What I MEANT to say was ..."

My sister's fetus died when she was in her sixth month of a pregnancy that she and her husband had been trying for over and over. There was no miscarriage; the baby just died. My sister didn't suffer a breakdown and need to be hospitalized, but she was in such a state of distress that her doctor strongly urged an abortion immediately. (My sister wavered between blaming herself for the baby dying in her womb, to being afraid to leave the house because people would congratulate her since she still looked pregnant.)

She did have the abortion, and later on, became pregnant and all was well. But according to what I understand Obama to be saying, since my sister wasn't diagnosed as 'mentally ill' he would be opposed to her having an abortion to remove the dead bably from her womb. He would force her to carry it until she went into labor.

I can't vote for this man.

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.

Folks..he's playing the classic shell game...which of the 3 shells contains the pea. Here watch as I switch them around.
Would you buy a used car from Obama?..I don't think so.

Mental health--who cares B Hussein Obama is for baby killing period. He is for abortion, infanticide translation abortion doesn't work so kill baby anyway.He is for gay marraige which is an oxymoron. Marriage is defined as marrying a man and a woman. Its called procreation or having a family.
Obama then says he is Christian. Jesus clearly says if you love me keep my commandments.
Thats what Jesus says not the Obama positon it all ends with the Sermon on the Mount.
Who is Obama kidding parsing words about killing babies end of story. Jerry White, Springfield, IL

Does this SURPRISE anyone? It surely doesn't me. Obama flips then flops and sometimes even flips again. Shocker right?

Why aren't the resident right-wing trolls crying foul at Frank James' unflattering piece about Barack? Bruce? John D? Terry? Jeff? What happened? Where's the mythical liberal media bashing?

* * * * *
Posted by: Bubba | July 6, 2008 11:00 AM
* * * * *
What is so unflattering about the piece? Pseudo-liberals are quibbling over the finer points of the right to an abortion. To conservatives, the fact Barack Obama takes a slightly less pseudo-liberal view than others on this issue hardly puts him in a more unflattering light. Conservatives do not believe the Constitution protects the right to an abortion at all, in which case they see both sides of this dispute as being in the wrong.

It's really not fair to the national media. I mean, they have schedules and deadlines to meet. Every time Obama states a "position", either he or a campaign spokesman should immediately advise the press when the candidate will be "clarifying" it.

Sorry Julie - George W. Bush has always been pro-life.
Sorry Julie - before Roe v Wade "the tragic" stuff is over blown, there are as many if not more deaths and injuries since Roe v Wade as before.
Sorry Julie, do not tell me you are a Christian but abortion is ok.
Sorry Julie - before Roe v Wade state decided whether abortions (baby killings) were legal. All Rove Wade did was make it a federal issue, if Roe v Wade were to end today, the states that wanted to advocate baby killing still could do so.
Sorry Julie - Barry advocates the taking of a pre born babys life until the moment of first breath - that's how he voted in Illinois - that is his position today. no flip flops he is firm on this position - babies are mistakes.

first, I am sorry about your sister's first child that died en utero at six months gestation. We have had a perfect stillborn boy full term 9 months in our family. He died the day before his due date en utero. Long story. Long, long way back to life for all of us then.
Technically, although the medical term 'abortion' may have been used for whatever procedure your sister had to bring her dead child from her body, that is not abortion.
Abortion is the 'removal' and death of a living embryo or fetus from the uterus.
A woman who has a child die en utero is usually given a choice; one most often taken is to induce labor and to bring the deceased child through that way... in part to signal the body to continue through the powerful hormonal process through to lactation, even though there is no child. To complete the cycle and in that sense help to 'reset the system' for the next pregnancy... is a good deal of the thinking in doing it that way.
I am glad your sister had a living child eventually. Some of us see the issue of childbearing from up close through heart and soul, some from far away.
Posted by: archangel | July 6, 2008 3:47 PM

I wish all the Christians that keep crying about "baby killing" would cry more about about all the babies we're killing in Iraq, not to mention our own sons and daughters. If you're not against war, then you are all just hypocrites.

Apparently, Obama is expecting the American people to be smart and capable of understanding the complexities inherent in any meaningful issue. Here's hoping his faith is not misplaced.

read: Julie | July 6, 2008 2:50 AM

She's got the right idea. Abortion will happen. No one likes the fact that it happens but it will happen regardless of the laws surrounding it.
In someways it's not a political issue but a social one - we need encourage people to change their hearts about it, not just make laws about it.

Once I voted for a candidate because of his stance on abortion; because I care deeply about the sanctity of life. That candidate then, once elected, invaded a country and sent my friends to fight and die in the desert there.
Maybe that candidate cares more for the sanctity of life for the unborn than those who bravely choose to serve our country.

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