Friday, January 23, 2009

Obama In Favour of Prohibiting Late-Term Abortions

I recently said I wouldn't be posting anything more on abortion "in a very long while". But sometimes you come across information which you just can't let pass by. Such is the case with what I just found out about President Obama's stance on late-term abortions. Without further adieu here is what he had to say in an interview with Relevant Magazine back on July 1, 2008:

"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". (Emphasis Mine)

Obviously his comments relate to the United States, and not to Canada. But given the tone of comments to my previous posts on this topic I'm curious to see what the reaction will be. Obviously those who view the status quo (no abortion law, hence no restrictions on late-term abortions) as positive and progressive, then it follows that they will be enraged with President Obama's position and will no doubt consider him a regressive woman hater worthy of being sworn at.

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One of Obama's greatest strengths in my opinion is his willingness to try and bridge significant gaps between polarized groups. His selection of Pastor Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at his inauguration is a case in point. To same-sex couples Warren is the devil incarnate, yet Obama chose this man for his swearing in ceremony. You don't reach out to people by ignoring their concerns, even if you don't agree with them you have to listen. In his book "The Audacity of Hope" Obama writes of Bush as a decent man, one who would be a good neighbor (American spelling I know)...their political differences notwithstanding. Is trying to work with people with whom you disagree progressive or regressive? Doesn't working with someone imply a willingness to listen to their point of view and making an effort to try and understand it? It beats the hell out of screaming at them about all the reasons you think they're wrong.

I realize its easier to react in knee jerk fashion and just start screaming insults, but that does little to foster constructive debate. Of course the problem with polarized issues is that neither side is willing to listen to the other, because the other side lies and distorts.

Now...there is one point I wish to clarify. I came across this interview by way of another blog:

The author tells a gut wrenching story about how her unborn child had numerous complications, and actually ended up dying prior to birth. She had wanted to abort, realizing the child would not survive in any case. But due to a restrictive legal environment her needs were ignored. I don't know President Obama, but I get the distinct impression that once made aware of the pertinent facts he would never restrict a woman in this type of situation from getting the proper medical attention.

I know some will scream that elective late-term abortions never take place in Canada. That all late-term procedures are for strictly medical reasons so severe that the life of the mother and/or unborn child is affected. If find that difficult to believe given that ARCC (Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada) says they do in fact happen.

So, is the new American President right or wrong on this issue? In the final analysis does it really matter what country we're talking about? Surely if something is right or wrong, that transcends national boundaries.

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