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...Then, he switched! He now wants a mental health exception!
Reporter: You said that mental distress shouldn't be a reason for late-term abortion?So as long as a woman can get her "blues" classified by a medical health professional as "depression," she has a right to a late term abortion no matter how strongly the majority of citizens feel about the immorality of destroying a fully viable human entity? And that's rigorous?
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.
Incredible. That would be incredible even without the prior inconsistent statement.
Really. Does he think we are idiots?
ADDED: Jan Crawford Greenburg is dissatisfied because Obama didn't make the health exception big enough:
Obama is trying to restrict abortions after 22 weeks to those women who have a serious disease or illness. But the law today also covers some women who are in "mental distress," those women who would suffer emotional and psychological harm without an abortion.Obama is subject to a huge amount of pressure from both sides on the issue of abortion — and on the meta-issue of whether he's a flip-flopper. And then there's the question of Supreme Court nominations, an issue that comes into focus for a lot of people when the subject is abortion. Is Obama prepared to be hounded about all these things for the next 4 months?
This standard has long been understood to require less than "serious clinical mental health disease." Women today don't have to show they are suffering from a "serious clinical mental health disease" or "mental illness" before getting an abortion post-viability, as Obama now says is appropriate....
So Obama, it seems to me, still is backing away from what the law says—and backing away from a proposed federal law (of which he is a co-sponsor) that envisions a much broader definition of mental health than the one he laid out this week.
The Court has said the Constitution prohibits states from banning post-viability abortions unless those laws contain a broad mental health exception---one that includes mental distress and severe emotional harm. Abortion rights groups have fought for decades to preserve these exceptions, and I'm awfully curious what they will think about limiting them to women with mental disease or mental illness.