I just don't get it. Conventional political wisdom is that you must move to the center during a general election season. I don't agree with that--in fact, I think that is exactly the wrong thing to do right now when the vast majority of the nation by and large does not approve of how things are being done in Washington (9% Approval rating? Think that has anything to do with your capitulations again and again, Pelosi and Reid?), but it's hard to pierce that Beltway bubble to let through anything but the politics-as-usual stylings. However, it's a far cry from playing to the center and grabbing yourself some right wing frames and running with them. That makes no sense to me...is Obama thinking that he'll be able to get the 'Donald Wildmon vote contingent' this way?
Obama's desire to win these voters may be why, in a recent interview with Relevant magazine, ("Covering God, Life, and Progressive Culture") Obama seemed to be moving rightward on the issue -- rhetorically, at least -- saying:
"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 language Obama used in that response seemed to remove "mental distress" as an allowable exception justifying a post-22 week abortion. [..]
Obama continued: "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."
But if Obama is saying that "mental distress" is already not a legal exception for abortion bans, then what was the point of what he told Relevant? He maintains he wasn't discussing any view that runs contrary to current abortion law, so it would seem he was just discussing a personal view -- that a woman, 8 1/2 months pregnant, shouldn't be able to get an abortion just because she's feeling blue.
Okay, I hate to break it to you, but the concept of the woman "feeling blue" and deciding on a whim after 6-7 months of normal, healthy pregnancy that she wants to end it is as much a fantastical creature created by the right as the Welfare Queen living large on government aid. It's insulting to women and their ability to understand what's happening to them.
And this is where I get really angry. Anyone who has paid attention to the relative non-issue of late-term abortions--the stuff that the right wing lives to distract and horrify the electorate with--knows that this framing of women deciding after more than 6 months that she's just not interested in being pregnant was designed as a slippery slope platform to hurt women from getting abortions, at any time. Jesse at GroupNews has more...