Barack Obama Says “Mental Distress” is No Reason for Women to Have Abortions

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 4, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Barack Obama Says “Mental Distress” is No Reason for Women to Have Abortions

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
July 4
, 2008

Washington, DC ( — Pro-abortion presidential candidate Barack Obama is again weighing in on the abortion issue and says that the normal “mental distress” that accompanies a pregnancy is no reason for women to have late-term abortions. The position seemingly makes him side with pro-life advocates, but Obama has opposed a ban on late-term abortions.

Though he has repeatedly indicated he disagrees with the partial-birth abortion ban and the Supreme Court’s finding the bill constitutional, Obama said Thursday that "mental distress" should not qualify as a health exception for late term-abortions.

In an interview this week with "Relevant," a Christian magazine, Obama said prohibitions on late-term abortions must contain "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,” he added.

David O’Steen, the director of the National Right to Life Committee, told the Associated Press that Obama can’t be believed and that his actions don’t line up with his words.

He said Obama’s comments "are either quite disingenuous or they reflect that Obama does not know what he is talking about."

"You cannot believe that abortion should not be allowed for mental health reasons and support Roe v Wade," O’Steen said.

Obama also defended is votes in the Illinois legislature against a bill that would stop infanticide and protect newborn babies who survived botched abortion procedures or are purposely allowed to be born knowing they will die. The bill would make sure the get appropriate medical care.

"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," Obama said.

"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,” he claimed.

Mental health has been the excuse used by late-term abortion practitioners such as George Tiller in Kansas to justify when such abortions can be done.

It is frequently cited in late-term abortion laws and opposed by pro-life advocates who consider it a gigantic loophole essentially allowing all late-term abortions to remain legal.

Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor expanded on the presidential candidate’s comments in an interview with the Associated Press.

"Senator Obama has consistently maintained that laws restricting abortions must contain exceptions for the health and life of the mother," he said. "Obviously, as he stated in the interview, he has consistently believed those exceptions should be clear and limited enough to ensure that they don’t undermine the prohibition on late-term abortions."

The leading-abortion group NARAL released a statement saying Obama has been a consistent backer of unlimited abortions.

"Sen. Obama has consistently said he supports the tenets set forth by Roe, and has made strong statements against President Bush’s Federal Abortion Ban, which does not have an exception to protect a woman’s health," the group said.

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