Obama Has His Own Problems with Abortion

Does the Obama campaign really want to go there with the Akin controversy?

This excerpt from  a 2002 audio tape in the Weekly Standard that features then state senator Obama talking about late term abortions shows the president to be wildly out of touch with the mainstream of America on the issue.

I just want to be clear because I think this was the source of the objections of the Medical Society. As I understand it, this puts the burden on the attending physician who has determined, since they were performing this procedure, that, in fact, this is a nonviable fetus; that if that fetus, or child - however way you want to describe it - is now outside the mother's womb and the doctor continues to think that its nonviable but there's, lets say, movement or some indication that, in fact, they're not just out limp and dead, they would then have to call a second physician to monitor and check off and make sure that this is not a live child that could be saved. Is that correct?

[...]

[I]f you had a suspicion that a doctor, the attending physician, who has made an assessment that this is a nonviable fetus and that, lets say for the purposes of the mother's health, is being -- that -- that labor is being induced, that that physician (a) is going to make the wrong assessment and (b) if the physician discovered, after the labor had been induced, that, in fact, he made an error, or she made an error, and, in fact, that that physician, of his own accord or her own accord, would not try to exercise the sort of medical measures and practices that would be involved in saving that child. Now, if -- if you think that there are possibilities that doctors would not do that, then maybe this bill makes sense, but I -- I suspect and my impression is, is that the Medical Society suspects as well that doctors feel that they would be under that obligation, that they would already be making these determinations and that, essentially, adding a -- an additional doctor who then has to be called in an emergency situation to come in and make these assessments is really designed simply to burden the original decision of the woman and the physician to induce labor and perform an abortion. Now, if that's the case - and --and I know that some of us feel very strongly one way or another on that issue - that's fine, but I think it's important to understand that this issue ultimately is about abortion and not live births. Because if these children are being born alive, I, at least, have confidence that a doctor who is in that room is going to make sure that they're looked after.

Only the most rabid pro choice extremists take this position. The same holds true for supporting abortions in the third trimester -- also supported by the president. A Gallup poll shows that only 10% of Americans support 3rd trimester abortions, putting the president way out on the fringe of the issue.

Rich Lowry sums up the president's attitude toward abortion:

President Obama is an extremist on abortion. He has never supported any meaningful restriction on it, and never will.

He opposed a partial-birth abortion bill in Illinois, even as the federal version passed the House with 282 votes and the Senate with 64 votes and was signed into law by President Bush in 2003. He arrived in the U.S. Senate in time to denounce the Supreme Court’s ruling upholding the ban.

In 2007, he told the Planned Parenthood Action Fund that his first act as president would be signing the Freedom of Choice Act. The act would enshrine in federal law a right to abortion more far-reaching than in Roe v. Wade and eliminate basically all federal and state-level restrictions on abortion. This isn’t a point its supporters contest; it’s one they brag about. The National Organization for Women says it would “sweep away hundreds of anti-abortion laws [and] policies.”

The Freedom of Choice Act won’t reach the president’s desk. His support of it, though, shows how it is impossible to stake out a position further to his left on the issue, unless, perhaps, you are performing abortions yourself.

Abortion is far from being an issue that would make or break most people's vote this election. Surveys put it near the bottom of issues people are concerned about. And there are other advantages for the Democrats in highlighting Mr. Akin's ill-informed comments, not least of which is the Democrat's contention that the GOP is waging a "war on women."

But if the president wants to call the GOP position on abortion "extreme," he better be ready to defend his own positions on the issue which are far outside the mainstream of American thought.